Moeder Jagt's Will & Testament (1718)

Verbatim transcription of the last Will and Testament of

Engela van Bengale,

the widow of the Cape of Good Hope free-burgher

Arnoldus Willemsz: Basson nicknamed Jagt from Wesel in the Duchy of Cleves,

known during her life-time at the Cape of Good Hope as

Angela van Bengale / Maaij Ansela or Ansiela / Moeder Jagt.

Cape Archives (CA): CJ 2599 no. 38 (Will:  Engela van Bengalen, weed:[uw]e wijlen Arnoldus Willemsz: Basson, dated 13 January 1718) – transcribed and annotated by Mansell George Upham

38

202

De Chavonnes


Maurits / Mauritz Pasques de Chavonnes (1654–8 September 1724) – governor of the Cape of Good Hope (1714-1721)

In den Name Godes Amen

                Bij den inhouder van dit openbaar in Intruments sij kennelijk  een ieder die’t behoort, dat op huijden na de  geboorten onser heeren en Saligmaker Jesus Christi een duijsent seven hondert en agtien op den dertiende dag den maand Januarij voor mij Daniel Thibault Secretaris van den Agtb:[ar]e Raad van Justitie deses gouverments in’t presentie van den naargn:[oemd]e getuijgen gecompareert en den verschenen is, den Eersame Engela van Bengalen, weed:[uw]e wijlen Arnoldus Willemsz:  Basson, mij Secretaris en getuijgen bekent, siekelijk te bedde leggende, dog haar verstand, sinnen en memorie volkomen magtig, soo ons bijt Passeeren deses bleek te kennen gevende, hoe dat sij bij gifte uijt Sake des doods om sonderlinge consideratie, en wel met dese uijtdrukkelike Expressien, t’ samentlijk aan haar Soon den burger Michiel Basson, mede mijn Secretaris ende getuijgen bekent, voor desselfs seven en twingtig jaarige getrouwe dienste, besorging van hare Compar[arante]:s affaire bede en Effecten soo hier als op andere plaatsen haar Compar[ante]:s toe komende en in dit gouvernements gelegen sijnde, bij desen Schonken in volkomen Eijgendom gaff, twee harer Lijfeijgenen Namentlijk een mans Slaaff gen:[aem]t Januarij van Bougies oud omtrent 27 Jaren en een Slaven genaamt Pieternel van de Caab oud omtrent 13 Jaren, die sij compare:[n]te wil en delegeert dat bij haar Erfgenamen uijt den boedel na haar overleijden aan hem Michiel Basson sullen wenden over getransporteert, en sonder tegen spreken van imand in vrijen Eijgendom wenden beseten.

                Alle’t gene voorsz: Staat, de compare[n]:te van woorde tot woorde klaar en duijdelijk voorgelesen sijnde, verklaarde t’ selve te wsen hare Laaste en uijtreste wil, willende ende begeerende dat ‘t selve volkomen Effect sorteeren sal, ‘t zij als testament codicil, giste uijt Zake des doods ofte onder de Levende soo als t; selve an regten costume best sal konnen off mogen bestaan, alwaar’t Saken dat hier inne, eenige nodige en na regten verdichte plegtigheden waren versuijmt die sij compare[nt]e volkomentlijk houd voor geinsereert, verseerkerde mij Secretaris hier van kennise te dragen gedaanm ende gelevert te warden Instrument in commi Forma, ‘t welk is dese.

                Dat Aldus passeerde aan Cabo de Goede Hoop, ten woonplaatse van de Compar:[aran]te op Jaar, maand en dag voorsz: ten Presentie van Jan Rogier, Jacob Lever en Pieter van der Heijden als getuijgen van geloven hier toe ter zogt.

Dit merk X heeft Engela

van Bengalen gestelt

Als Getuijgen

[signed] Johannes Rogiers

[signed] J.[acob] Lever

[signed] P: v: Heijde

In Kennis van mij

[signed] D:[aniel] Thibault

For a photograph of the original will, click at the following link: http://www.e-family.co.za/ffy/exhibits/will—engela-van-bengale.pdf

Epilogue

Originally Ansela, becoming Angela and finally Engela once assimilated into Cape colonial patrician society, is respectfully referred to as Maaij Ansela

Possibly a member of one of the hunter-gatherer hill peoples dispersed throughout north-west Burma and procured by the Moghuls in Bengal, she is sold to the Dutch and taken to Batavia.

Arriving at the Cape in the return fleet on the Amersfoort (1657), she is sold by the repatriating Pieter Kemp (former Capiteyn der Burgerije in Batavia) to Jan van Riebeeck, the Cape’s 1st VOC commander, and then to the secunde Abraham Gabbema.  She becomes (1666) the Cape’s 3rd female slave (and 4th slave) to be freed.  Unlike her predecessors who are liberated to be married, she (pregnant with a 4th Eurasian child) and her three children are manumitted by Gabbema.

At first indentured in return for food and clothes, she is granted (1667) an erf in Table Valley. The grant is exceptional.  Rarely are freed slave women granted landed property.  Engela is baptised (29 April 1668) and marries (15 December 1669) the free-burgher, Arnoldus Willemsz: Basson, nick-named Jagt. Seven children are born of the marriage.  By marrying Jagt, Engela’s four Eurasian offspring are legitimized.  She is one of only four Cape heelslag slave women to marry Europeans – only halfslag slave women are legally permitted to marry Europeans.  Did Jagt’s dissenting background pave the way? 

Throughout her long life Maaij Ansela astutely negotiates her rapidly upwardly mobile ascent by selecting caring VOC officials (Francois de Coninck and Johannes van As) that openly provide for her bastard offspring and finds a lawful husband Jagt willing to accommodate her and her four bastards.  Together they spawn a mammoth Basson clan that permeates the entire Zwartland and beyond and every aspect of colonial life. 

Amassing land, jewelry, portraits and influence, she dies revered even `respectabalising` her humble name Ansela (in Latin ancilla = ‘slave girl’) transforming it into Engela without ever freeing any of her slaves. 

Not even the biggest of social hiccoughs ever deters her from her meteoric rise to respectability: 

  • the execution of her wayward and slow son, Jantje van As, for stealing sheep, kidnapping a slave Anythonij van Malabar and murdering him at Cape Point;
  • the imprisonment of her Swedish son-in-law, Olof Bergh, for appropriating Company property
  • the suicide of a Hottentot [Khoe] woman Zara in her sheep pen;
  • the spawning of a Batavia-banished bastard son Arnoldus Johannes Basson by her son Jan Basson, with the Widow Putter; and
  • the detention on Robben Island of her grandson, Jan van As, for unspeakable immoral impropriety. 

A great many of her descendants brown-nose their way into prominent civic positions in the colony even turn-coating after both the 1st and 2nd British occupations.Her vast genealogical legacy, ironically, is played down by her ingratiating great-great-grandson, Johan Isaac Rhenius (1750-1808)[1], when expounding on the incestuous nature of old Cape colonial families:[2]

In this Colony intermarriages are so frequent that the whole of the Inhabitants are related.  I recollect when General Jansens first took upon him the Government of the Cape of Good Hope he was consulting with a very worthy Friend of mine, a Mister Rheinens concerning the necessity if newmodeling the constitution and if possible indicating the vices and corruptions of the generality of the People.  An Herculean labour it would have proved. 

“How,” cries His Excellency “is this to be done?”

My friend whose penetration was equal to the goodness of his heart said: 

“General this may be done by banishing root and branch four of the principal Families of the Cape:

The Van Reinens[3], the Cloetez[4], The Bredaus[5] and The Exteens[6].” 

Now these Families were so interwoven with each other and with nearly the whole of the colony that there must have been a general clearance.  This the Governor was convinced of and gave up the Attempt.

At least one of her latter-day descendants does not quite forget his slave ancestry for ensuing generations.

He is Gijsbert Hemmij (1746-1791), author of De testimoniis Aethiopum, Chinensium aliorumque paganorum in India orientali (the testimony of Aethiopians, Chinese and other pagans as well as of the ‘Hottentots’ inhabiting the Cape of Good Hope, likewise about the complaints of East Indian slaves), a thesis he presents in Latin to the University of Leiden (1770) for the degree of Doctor of Both Laws.[7]


[1] Son of Johannes Theophilus Rhenius & Helena Maria van der Heuvel, grandson of Johannes Tobias Rhenius (from Berlin) & Engela Bergh; great-grandson of Olof Bergh (from Gothenburg, Sweden) & Anna de Coninck (from the Cape); & great-great-grandson of Maaij Ansela van Bengale.

[2] Robert C.-H. Shell, ‘Samuel Hudson on Marriages and other customs at the Cape’, Kronos, vol. 15 (1989), p. 49.

[3] The Van Re(e)nen family is founded at the Cape by Jacob van Renen (from Memel).

[4] The Cloete family is founded by Jacob Cloete from Kempen in the Electorate of Cologne & wife Sophia (Fytje) Raderootjes [Radergorts] from Uez [Cologne]. He becomes one of the Cape’s 1st free-burghers.  He returns to Europe after the death of his wife but comes back to the Cape as a Company official serving as corporal at the Company outpost (buitenpost) at Clapmuts [Klapmuts, near Stellenbosch].  He is found brutally murdered with multiple stab wounds in front of the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town. Their eldest daughter Elsje Cloete (from Cologne) marries Willem Schalksz: van der Merwe (from Broek / Oud-Beijerland).  His Cloete surname-bearing descendants descend from his 2 sons Gerrit Jacobssen Cloete & Coenraad Cloete & include Afrikaans- & English-speaking South Africans & also the so-called Cloete Basters of Namaqualand (Northern Cape, South Africa) & Namaland (Namibia).  A branch of the family also ramifies in British India.

[5] The Van Breda family is founded by Pieter van Breda

[6] The Eksteen family is founded by Heinrich Oswald Eksteen (c. 1678-1747) (from Loebenstein in Thuringia); arrives at the Cape (1702) as midshipman (adelborst) on the Oostersteyn; member of Burgher Council & Orphan Chamber; marries (1stly) 1704 Sara Heyns (dies during smallpox epidemic 1713) (daughter of Michiel Heyns (from Leipzig) & the Cape-born mulatta Maria Schalk(s:) & granddaughter of the Abysinnian slave Koddo / Prodo (alias Cornelia Arabus) by Willem Schalksz: van der Merwe (from Broek / Oud-Beijerland); marries (2ndly) 1714 Everdina Cruijwagen; marries (3rdly) 1719 Aletta van der Heijden.  Eksteen also fathers an illegitimate son Hendrik Eksteen by Cape-born metizza Agnietie Colijn (daughter of Swarte Maria Everts: van de Caep by Bastiaen Jansz: Colijn (from s’ Gravezande)).  The mother of his illegitimate son also has an illegitimate son (Jan Oberholzer) by Hans Oberholzer (from Zuerich [Switzerland]).

[7] Edited & translated from Latin by Margaret Hewett (Cape Town 1998).

Mark made by Anselaar van Bengalen alias Maaij Ansela (aka Moeder Jagt) [CA: MOOC 8/1, no. 33 (Inventory: Arnout Willemsz: Bason (4 Februarij 1698)]

British Proclamation to re-instate the Hottentot Corps & round up the militarily exploitable aboriginal men of the newly conquered colony at the Cape of Good Hope

The Hottentot Corps is directed in a Proclamation by the British conquering forces under the command of Major-General Sir DAVID BAIRD [General Sir David Baird, 1st Baronet GCB (6 December 1757 – 18 August 1829)] following the Battle of Blaauw Berg (8 January 1806), to be re-imbodied, under the command of Major Graham [Colonel John Graham (24 April 1778-13 March 1821)].

General Sir David Baird, 1st Baronet GCB (6 December 1757 – 18 August 1829)

PROCLAMATION.
By His Excellency Major-General Sir DAVID BAIRD, &c.

WHEREAS I think it expedient for His Majesty’s Service, that a Corps of Hottentot Infantry be raised as soon as possible, I do therefore invite all Magistrates, and other Inhabitants, to direct and encourage all Hottentots, immediately to repair to the Castle, where Major GRAHAM will be ready to receive and form them into a Corps, which will be paid and subsisted on the same footing as His Majesty’s other Troops of Infantry.

Given under my Hand and Seal, in Cape Town, this 13th day of January, 1806.

(Signed) D. BAIRD
Major-general, Commanding in Chief.
By Order of His Excellency
(Signed) J.C. SMITH, Acting] C.[olonial] Secretary.

General Sir David Baird, 1st Baronet GCB (6 December 1757 – 18 August 1829)Portrait by Sir John Watson

PROCLAMATIE
Door Zyne Excellentie, den Generaal Majoor Sir DAVID BAIRD, enz.

Nademaal ik, ten dienste van Zyne Majesteit, goedgevonden heb, een Corps Hottentotsche Infanterie zoo spoedig als mogelyk op te rigten: zoo noodig ik by deze all Magistraats Personen en andren Ingezetenen, all Hottentototten aan te zeggen en aan te moedigen, zich ten speodigsten te vervangen ten dezen Kasteele, alwaar de Majoor GRAHAM gereed zal zyn dezelve te ontvangen en te formeren in een Corps, hetwelk opdenzelfden voet als Zyne Majesteits andere Troepen van de Infanterie betaald en onderhouden zal worden.

Gegeven onder myn Hand en Zegel, dezen dertienden dag van January 1806.
(Get.) D.BAIRD, Generaal Majoor.
Ter Ordonnantie van Denzelven,
(Get.) J.C. SMITH, Fung. Kol. Secretaris.

Articles of Capitulation

Petrus Wilhem Caesar / Zezar (1792-1881) witnessed the signing of the Articles of Capitulation on 10 January 1806 at Treaty Cottage, Papendorp [present-day Woodstock] formalising the 2nd British Occupation of the Cape:

« Mr W.E. Moore, a solicitor and mayor of Woodstock during the eighties of the last century … became interested in the matter in the 1860’s when he met a Mr Pieter Willem Zezars, certainly not a name to be forgotten easily.  Zezars claimed to have seen the Treaty signed.  “I was 13 years old at the time, Zezars recalled, when it was suspected that a British fleet might arrive, aspecial signal cannon was placed on Signal Hill.  One day it fired and then we saw dozens of ships off Robben Island.  Every one ran into the streets.  As the British approached Papendorp I ran to meet them with some other lads.  We saw the generals enter the cottage.  I looked through the window and watched them signing a paper.” »

He is the son of the free-born Bastaard Hottentot Pieter Caesar – the man in the employ of the licensed butcher and brandmeester Johann Michael Elser from Spöck, near Karlsruhe, who brings into the colony from the interior the Cape aborigene Saartje Baartman (who later performs and is exhibited as the «Hottentot Venus»).

He is listed (1812) resident in Cape Town at 9 Vreedenburg Steeg. At that stage his paternal uncle Hendrik Caesar – a musician at the African Theatre on Hottentot Plein [later renamed Boeren Plein and again redubbed Van Riebeeck Plein and now reconfigured as Heritage Square] – had already left the colony (1810) chaperoning Baartman to England.  You can read more about the Caesar Family at the following links:

https://mansellupham.wordpress.com/2019/08/13/from-the-venus-sickness-to-the-hottentot-venus-saartje-baartman-the-3-men-in-her-life-alexander-dunlop-hendrik-caesar-jean-riaux/

https://mansellupham.wordpress.com/2020/01/10/beauty-and-her-beasts-of-prey-the-hottentot-venus-and-her-keepers-arty-farty-anglo-dutch-network/

St Stephen’s Dutch Reformed Church – previously the ‘African’ Theatre [Painting by A. Henry Fullwood (1902)]

Summary of Articles of Capitulation signed by Lt. Col. Von Prophalow, Maj. Gen. Baird & Cdre Popham (10 January 1806) [Kaapsche Courant (11 January 1806)]

  • Cape Town, the Castle, & circumjacent fortifications are surrendered to Great Britain;
  • Garrison to become Prisoners of War, but Officers who are Colonists or married to Colonists to remain at liberty as long as they behave themselves;
  • Officers to be repatriated to Europe & paid up to date of embarkation & transported at British expense;
  • All French Subjects in the Colony to return to Europe;
  • Inhabitants of Cape Town who had borne arms [ie burgher militiamen] to return to their occupations;
  • All private property to remain free & untouched;
  • All public property to be inventoried & handed over;
  • Burghers & Inhabitants to retain all their rights & privileges, including freedom of worship;
  • Paper money in circulation to remain current;
  • Batavian government property to be handed over to serve as security for paper money;
  • Prisoners of War not be pressed into British service or be forced to enlist against their will;
  • Troops not be quartered on the citizens of Cape Town;
  • 2 ships sunk in Table Bay to be raised by those who had sunk them, repaired, & handed over.
Treaty Cottage at Papendorp (later Woodstock) [Cape Archives]

Summary of Articles of Capitulation signed by Lt. Gen. Janssens & Brig. Gen. Beresford (18 January 1806) & ratified by Maj. Gen. Baird (19 January) [The Cape Town Gazette & African Advertiser (25 January 1806)]

  • Colony & its dependencies  to surrendered to Great Britain;
  • Batavian troops to move to Simon’s Town, with their guns, arms, baggage, & all honours of war – officers to retain their swords & horses, but all arms, treasure, public property, & horses to be handed over;
  • Batavian troops not to be considered  prisoners;
  • Janssens’ Hottentot troops to march to Simon’s Town either to return home or join British forces;
  • British commander-in-chief [Baird] to decide position of Batavian troops already prisoners of war;
  • British government to bear expense of Batavian troops’ subsistence until embarkation;
  • Batavian troops to be transported to a port in the Batavian Republic;
  • Sick men not transported to stay behind at British expense & sent to Holland after recovery
  • Rights & privileges allowed to citizens of Cape Town to also apply to rest of colony, except that the British could quarter troops on residents of country districts;
  • Once embarked, Batavian troops to be treated the same as British troops when on board transport ships;
  • Janssens to be allowed to send a despatch to Holland, & British commanders assist in forwarding it;
  • Decisions regarding continuation of agricultural plans by Baron van Hogendorp to be left to future British government;
  • Any matter arising out of the Articles of Capitulation to be decided justly & honourably without preference to either party.

Colonel John Graham (24 April 1778-13 March 1821)

Colonel John Graham (24 April 1778-13 March 1821)

British Soldier notable for founding (1814) the town (later city) of Grahamstown (recently officially renamed in efforts to expunge his colonial legacy), South Africa which becomes military, administrative, judicial and educational centre for its surrounding region.

Born (24 April 1778) in Dundee, Scotoland, the 2nd son of Robert Graham, last laird of the demesne of Fintry and 12th representative of Grahams of Fintry in Forfarshire, Scotland – later in life, becomes 13th representative of the Fintry Grahams following death of elder brother (1799) and his father (1816).

Aged 16, he is commissioned in the British Army, joining 90th Regiment of Foot, which had been raised (1794) by kinsman, Thomas Graham of Balggowan  (later Lord Lynedoch). Two expeditions to France(late 1790s) are followed by appointment as aide-de-camp to the Earl of Chatham whom he serves in the Netherlands.

After 3 years on Guernsey with regiment, sent to Ireland  (1803) & becomes assistant quartermaster-general. Major (January 1806) in 93rd Regiment of Foot taking part in Battle of Blaauw Berg, helping Great Britain re-occupy Cape of Good Hope.

As Lieutenant-Colonel given charge of the Cape Regiment, based at Wynberg, which he trains as light infantry capable of delivering outstanding performance in wooded terrain.

Wynberg Military Camp while still under Dutch control

Founding of Grahamstown

He and the Corps are sent (1811) with British regulars and Boer commandoes   from Swellendam, Graaff-Reinet and Uitenhage to undertake task which is to define military career: clearing around 20,000 AmaXhosa tribesmen led by Ndlambe ka Rharhabe. The AmaXhosa had settled in the Zuurveld (later called Albany), district between the Bushman’s and Fish Rivers, which lies beyond Cape Colony’s frontiers. Zuurveld is presumed by British to be part of colony as they `misread` the frontier laid down by Governor Joachim van Plettenberg  (1778).

The British campaign to push the amaXhosa residents from the Eastern frontier is defined by his plan to use “a proper degree of terror.”  The subsequent battle includes indiscriminate shooting of women and other civilians, as well as destruction of crops.

Establishes (1812), on the deserted loan farm De Rietfontein, the settlement of Graham’s Town as the Zuurveld’s central military post, with a string of linked forts along the Fish River.

Returns (1812) to England on leave of absence then accompanies cousin Thomas to the Netherlands as his aide-de-camp and private military secretary.

Dies in Wynberg (13 March 1821) and buried in Somerset Road Cemetery – principal graveyard in Cape Town (until 1886). Before the levelling of the Somerset Road Cemetery and development of the site (c. 1922), a number of inscribed stones are lifted from their graves and deposited at Woltemade Cemetery, Maitland (opened 1886) as Cape Town’s new principal graveyard. His tombstone lies there today and a window is erected (c. 1931) to his memory in St Saviour’s Church, Claremont. A monument is also erected (1912) in High Street, Grahamstown on site of thorn tree where he decides to establish settlement.

Family

Marries (24 July 1812) Johanna Catharina Cloete (1790-1843) – great-great-great-           granddaughter of Jacob Klute [Cloete / Cloeten / Clauten / Klauten] of Westerford – one of 1st permanent settlers at the Cape & Sophia (Feigen / Fijtje / Fijckje / Feykje / Vytgen) Radero(o)tjes / Radergenties / Ra(e)dergorts / Radergeortge(n)s (from Uts in’t Land van Keulen [Oedt near Kempen]).

The Cloete family is founded by Jacob Cloete from Kempen in the Electorate of Cologne & wife Sophia (Fytje) Raderootjes [Radergorts] from Uez [Cologne]. He becomes one of the Cape’s 1st free-burghers.  He returns to Europe after the death of his wife but comes back to the Cape as a Company official serving as corporal at the Company outpost (buitenpost) at Clapmuts [Klapmuts, near Stellenbosch].  He is found brutally murdered with multiple stab wounds in front of the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town. Their eldest daughter Elsje Cloete (from Cologne) marries Willem Schalksz: van der Merwe (from Broek / Oud-Beijerland).  His Cloete surname-bearing descendants descend from his 2 sons Gerrit Jacobssen Cloete & Coenraad Cloete & include Afrikaans- & English-speaking South Africans & also the so-called Cloete Basters of Namaqualand (Northern Cape, South Africa) & Namaland (Namibia).  A branch of the family also ramifies in British India.

daughter of:

Rudolph / Roedolph Cloete (1762-c. 1816) & Johanna Catharina van Brakel

granddaughter of:

Hendrik Cloete Sr. (1725-1799) & Hester Anna Lourens (daughter of Pieter Lourens & Catharina van der Bijl)

great-granddaughter of: Jacobus / Jacob Cloete & 1st cousin once removed wife Sibilla Pasman, wid. Johannes Albertus Laubscher (daughter of Sophia van der Merwe & Roeloff Pasman & granddaughter of Elsje Jacobs: Cloete & Schalk Willemsz: van der Merwe)

great-great-granddaughter of :

Coenraad Cloeten & Martha Verschuur (daughter of Hendrik Gysbertsz: Verschuur (from Amersfoort) & Geesje Jans: Visser (from Hardenberg, Overijssel)

Along with 3 daughters (Johanna-Catharina, Elizabeth-Margaret &   Isabella-Ann), couple have a son, Robert, civil commissioner of Albany.

Descendants

Of the grandsons, 2 are knighted, one as Secretary of Law of Cape Colony, other Judge          President of Eastern Districts Court in Grahamstown.


Cape aborigine members of the Cape Corps being regaled by dancing & singing Khoe women & children en route to Fort England [Grahamstown] – painting by Frederick Timpson I’Ons (Islington 15 November 1802-Grahamstown 18 December 1887)

“WITH FRENCH’S * FLYING COLUMN” By Trooper Bob Dale (1878-1947) In Two parts Part 1

[Colourized by Tinus le Roux]

“WITH FRENCH’S *   FLYING COLUMN” [ * Lieutenant-General Sir John French, commander of the Cavalry Division renowned for his effective use of the flying column in military manœvres]

By Trooper Bob Dale (1878-1947)[1]

  Robert Vaughan Dale (1878-1947) photographed when he returned ‘Home’ in the 1920s

In Two parts      Part 1[2]

Transcribed and annotated by Mansell George Upham

The following re-transcribed manuscript, written by my maternal great-grandfather Robert Vaughan Dale (1878-1947) and copied by his sister Mary King, née Dale (1876-1930), came to light during a visit (1992) to England.  It was amongst the papers of his mother Gertrude Dale, née Brown (1851-1927) – then in the possession of her grandson, York King at Lower Baynton, Westbury in Wiltshire.  In the hand of his mother Mary King, née Dale (1876-1930), the manuscript, unfortunately, is incomplete.  The style is unashamedly jingoistic and indicative of British flippancy prevalent at the time.  Once Lord Roberts marched into Pretoria (5 June 1900), how could they know that the war would continue for much longer with devastating consequences for the civilian/rural and tribal population?  That much of the war played itself out on the banks of the Modder River (eg the British victory at the battle of Modder River itself; a retreat by the British to the Modder River after a Boer victory at Magersfontein & another British victory at the battle of Paardeberg) is borne out in an expression still in use by relations across the water: 

You will be thankful for the waters of the Modder River

This expression was constantly uttered by Gertrude Brown (Mrs Dale) – not without irony – when admonishing her ungrateful (and unworthy?) offspring – both in England and South Africa.

Gertrude Dale, née Brown (1851-1927) You will be thankful for the waters of the Modder River …

“What!  Englishmen or Roodeneks cowards?”  Wait!  Not so fast you colonial Rebels[3]; we will show you otherwise,” and that was how two friends and I came to join colonial volunteer forces recruiting in Cape Town; O yes, we were going to have a good picnic and see some of the fun at the front.[4]  After spending a few anxious hours before being taken on and sent to the camp at Rose bank where we had to show them what we could do with a rifle and horse, and there you would see many a poor fellow sent about his business because he could not hit a six foot target or would mount his horse on the wrong side.  Having passed all these examinations we were enrolled in full strength and paid 7/6 per diem from that day as troopers.

            Life in a camp as a recruit is not all beer and skittles, what with drills, cleaning horses and fatigues you were kept at it all day and it is not very pleasant after a free and easy life in the country.  I joined the 2nd Reg.t S.A.L.H.[5] and of course was longing to get up to the front, but what with serving out of uniforms, saddles, and horses to each man it took us twelve days before we were fully equipped;  at last orders came that we were to leave on the next day for the operating base, De Aar.  Joyful news indeed; how glad we were!  We were allowed to go into the town (Cape Town) to buy any extras we wanted, and display our uniforms that fitted us like sacks, tall men with very small tunics, and vice versa, short men about 5 ft. 6 in. with very long riding bricks, as hard as boards, which we had to cut much shorter:  but at the same time the feathers did not make the birds; we were smart men inside those ready made misfits which I will prove to you.  The next day January the 9th 1900 we fell in, in full marching order, and who should come to inspect us but Lord Roberts[6] and Kitchener[7]

“Our Bobs” was very pleased with us and had a kind word for nearly every man; then off we went to the station in double file; i.e. two by two, through the streets of Cape Town.  A few people cheering us here and there, then came the entraining which meant, horses first, next saddles & last the men, taking quite three hours & between times we managed to slip back into town for a last look etc.  Sad scenes of course there were, men’s wives and sweethearts always do cry, but they did not have much effect on us younger men who tried to make as much noise as we possible could, imagine dear reader that train load of 130 men, officers and horses, singing, shouting, and kicking for all we were worth, not to mention the crowd cheering us, and the large Union Jack flying out of the windows; out we steamed on our over three days journey. 

Calling at a few stations on the way, the first being Wellington a small village some 80 miles out of Cape Town, where we fed the horses; and a few patriotic ladies fed us on buns etc. making all a parting gift of clay pipes and tobacco.  So we go on, stopping now and there to water and feed our gallant steeds, about midnight we reached the Hex River mountains and proceeded to climb them taking just three hours to cover a distance of eleven miles; it was bright moon-light and the light was magnificent, what with the large gulleys and kloofs and the winding railroad like a silvery special ladder up to the moon.  Again we were besieged by kind ladies young and old who could not do enough for us.  At a pretty Karoo town, Beaufort West, we received great news to the effect that “Bobs” was so pleased with our appearance that he had re-named the regiment after himself “Roberts’ Horse”.  Oh the pride that swelled our breasts!  Off we go vigorously waving the good old Union Jack and cheering “Our Bobs’!

            On toils the heavily laden train at the rate of 10 or 12 miles an hour (the average rate of travelling for passenger train in times of peace is from 15 to 18 miles an hour).  At last we reached De Aar (English “the Estuary”) a small village of no importance (except as a large siding) about 2 A.M. on the fourth day since leaving Cape Town, but did not detrain till 5.30.  There our picnic began in earnest rules of course being much stricter, there being Martial Law; and oh!  What a lovely camp one large sandy desert, covered with stores, horse lines and tents.  We soon lost all our gaiety and wore a worried look performing our duties in a half hearted fashion, longing to get away any where from amidst those awful dust storms.  Everything you put in your mouth, no matter how careful you had been, was sand, sand, sand (Regimental stew with sand no extra charge).  Sandy Gallops and sham charges, skirmishing over sand hills were the order of the day, not forgetting the dodging of “Sandy Devils”, or whirlwinds of sand which spring up in the distance and go through the lines shaking the tents, spoiling the horses eyes and tempers not to mention the mens’.  And how pleased you felt when you hear the non-coms and officers ordering you to clean your rifle, saddle, etc.  “We are moving on to-morrow” that is the news every day, but to-morrow never comes. 

            Rebels ah!  we are off after them to-morrow round to Prieska (a small district in the north western Colony).  There we saw them but could not get near them, so followed further north; no luck, they cleared, and we had orders to proceed to Orange River.  We found our first two or three days of long marching very hard, your saddle feels uncomfortable and strange, your rifle very heavy and until your back and shoulder get accustomed to the strap, trigger guard and butt knocking and jamming at most tender points, you have no peace and you are continually pulling and straining at the different straps etc., cursing your luck and longing to dismount.  We camped  on the bank of the river among bushes and grass which were however soon trampled out of sight, or used for cooking purposes, or for making “Blanket shelters” from the sun, as  we had done with tents for many a long day to come.  Good old Orange River how we did look back to those three days along side the cool rushing yellow waters, bathing, washing clothes and horses ad lib, whenever there was half an hour to spare; on our right is the great Iron Rail and Road Bridge one of the finest in South Africa and over it are streaming all day and night, Cavalry Mounted Infantry, and Transport wagons, with now and then a long Goods train laden with 600 or 700 Infantry men lustily cheering and shouting to us to come on “Buck up!  Don’t funk it!  See you in Pretoria” etc.

            Early in the morning we were off again and followed the Railway line all day, marching very rapidly, reaching Witfontein a large Cape Colonial Farm at dusk where we off-saddled for the night and as soon as we could get free from the duties of feeding and watering our horses we besieged the humble farmer and begged him for coffee, bread, anything to eat and drink for which of course we had to pay through the nose.

            The next morning about 4 A.M. we were rudely roused and ordered to get saddled up in half an hour; no time for a cup of coffee, but from thence we had to ride on an empty stomach until 10 A.M., then it was just a matter of 20 minutes to water and roll horses leaving but few minutes to attend to your own wants.  Excitement rages in the ranks, rumours of nearing Boer Rebels come from every quarter, and the pangs of hunger are quite forgotten.  We struck off to the left making for a small district “Sunnyside” here they were supposed to be in great force and by 9 P.M. we got within sight, that is to say at the foot of the mountains beyond which lay Sunnyside.  In hushed whispers orders were issued and we camped there for the night; not a match to be struck, not a pipe to be smoked, nothing to be done but to console ourselves with dry biscuits and Bully-beef.  Many a man’s slumbers were broken by dreams of home, sweethearts, and wives; after three hours of this torture – “Hi!  Saddle up” with a rude shake whispers the non-com; in a few moments we were all saddled up, and then for two weary hours we stood, fully equipped waiting for the orders to march.  “Ready, mount” the words pass along the line & slowly we swerve round the foot of the mountains marching at extended orders, thirty paces apart, each man;  disappointment awaits us. –  In the stillness of the night they have fled!  leaving traces of their hurried departure;  the whole of that day we followed them racing through the thick under-bush of those parts;  horses dropping every fifty yards or so.  A ten minutes halt was called every three hours, which opportunity was seized to rest the six foot shadow of our horses, we were parched with thirst, as we had no chance of re-filling our water bottles.

            At four in the afternoon we turned, being unable to proceed owing to the scarcity of “scof” i.e. rations for horse and men.  Reaching Sunnyside at 9 P.M. and the only water we had seen through that blazing scorching day; in we plunged our weary steeds as deep as possible so that we could drink from the saddle.  We found our Convoy waiting us and soon indulged in a hearty meal, falling asleep about mid-night, too weary to notice that we were still clothed in sodden garments (on Active Service the only things you are allowed to take off are Rifle, Haversack and water bottle).  I must also mention here that our humble couches all through the campaign consisted of one blanket folded under us, our saddles for pillows and great-coats for covering.

            We did not get on the move again until 1 P.M. the next day;  having taken a short rest for the purpose of grazing our horses, our direction was South-East making straight for Belmont, the scene of Methuen’s first victory two months before, on nearing Belmont the next afternoon one large cloud of dust met the eye & here and there you would catch a glimpse of moving bodies of men, cannon, and wagons, as we came up with them we found that General French was commanding this column of 15.000 men, Cavalry, Artillery, and Mounted Infantry, and we, Roberts’ Horse, were to join them, and the next day we were marching across the Border into the Free State.  Rations were served out, rifles well oiled, and an extra 50 rounds issued to every man that night.

            The early hours of the morning saw us on the march; about 10 A.M. we cut our way through the border fencing and were in the enemies Country; additional scouts were sent out ahead and on both flanks, the rear-guard doubled in strength & fell further behind.  I was one of the rifle-flank scouts and expected to be sniped at and knocked over any minute.  We covered 23 miles that day without sighting any thing more offensive than sundry herds of skipping “Springbok”.

            Camping that night at “Ram Dam”; at 2 A.M. the next morning we were in the saddle, moving slowly and silently forward in the darkness; just at sun-rise there was a sudden halt – and it appeared that our mounted Infantry 1000 yards in advance of us, had been fired upon, and presently we heard the crackling report of their Rifles in reply – many of us smelling powder for the first time, Ah! What’s that?  The roar of their 15-pounders of the Royal Horse Artillery just to our left – with the blood madly coursing through our veins, fingering our Rifles, we were all longing to advance, when the order came “Walk march!” – “Right-Wheel!”  At that a quarter of the Column wheeled – “Trot!” – digging our spurs into our horses we cleared away to the right, skirting round a low ridge that hid us from the enemy, then wheeling to our front again we struck out for the river which we could just distinguish in the distance; – cutting down three or four wire fences on our way, when we were yet some 500 yards from it – Phip! – Phip! – What!?  Bullets striking the ground around us making small clouds of dust as they struck.  Our guns unlumbering came into action, whilst we swerving slightly round to the right made for a large drift known as De Kiel’s crossing the Riet River just below a Boer farm house, in somewhat disordered manner, we ducking heads, plunged across, bullets striking the rocks and water on all sides. –  On getting under the shelter of the opposite bank we dismounted and leaving our horses there crept up the sundry sluits or gullies and had the pleasure of potting at the retreating Boers whom our cannon had driven from the Kopjes.  Some of us becoming bolder crept on our stomachs onto the open veldt, so that we might get a better shot at them – we had soon used our rifles to such an extent that it was practically impossible to hold them any longer, there was a lull, when Captain Majendie[8], second in command Roberts’ Horse; walking openly towards us called our attention to a certain Kopje on the left telling us to seize the opportunity, as soon as our guns opened fire on the Boers position, to make for it.  The words had hardly left his mouth and his arm was still raised when, Phit! Phit!!!!! – with a heavy thud he fell across me;  turning, I was aghast to see him struggling in agony;  getting on my knees I at once proceeded to open up his shirt and disencumber him of his Haversack Water-bottle etc., as I did this he begged me “not to trouble but to go on firing.”  Thus our first though short engagement was over and we carried him off the field.  He breathed his last a few hours later, the shot having gone through his left arm, entering the body just under the heart and coming out of the right side.  It transpired afterwards that there were Boers in the actual Kopje that he had been pointing to.  Yes poor Captain, he set us a firm example of bravery, some felt he had been too foolhardy in standing up in the manner he did, but one can hardly wonder at his feeling of security after having been through seven campaigns without receiving a scratch.

            One river crossed; the enemy being too much surprised to have made any stand, our casualties did not amount to quite 50 killed and wounded;  my regiment losing only two killed i.e. Captain Majendie and one trooper, by a stray bullet entering his heart whilst he was holding horses behind a Kopje, and another slightly wounded whilst crossing the river.  Forming up camps on both sides of the river we halted, to wait for the Convoy, and Lord Roberts and Kitchener, who were expected to arrive within the next six hours; but the morning dawned before either Convoy or our Chiefs arrived.  Being ready mounted we were marched to the wagons and dished out with two days rations for horse and man.  Marching due East, which rather surprised most of us as Kimberley lay north-West and we all knew that  we were going to try and relieve that Town, we continued along the banks of the river until mid-day, then executed one of those movements by which General French has so distinguished himself throughout the war, i.e. “Sections Left Wheel!  At full extended order!  Trot!”  We struck out due North now and as we afterwards heard had fairly taken the Boers in, They, having thought we were making for Bloemfontein, had well entrenched themselves higher up the river, in a very good position where they could perhaps have given us some trouble.

MAJENDIE – Captain Henry Grylls – 4/Rifle Brigade wounded at Dekiel’s Drift, Riet River, 12th Feb. 1900. Died next day. Aged 34. Son of Colonel Sir Vivian Dering Majendie, KCB. Born March 1865. Served Burma 1888 (medal & clasp), Sudan 1898 (medal, Khidive’s medal & 2 clasps, MID, Order of Medjidie 4th Class)

            Oh what a march!  Leaving all semblance of a tree behind we were now crossing a grassy plain under a blazing sun, with a chocking [sic] heat which seemed to ooze out of the ground, the grass being long and dry it was wearying to the eye, This khaki before and under you; our water bottles were quickly becoming empty, marching at a quick walk, then Jog trot was most tiring;  we would all soon have walked, not only to stretch our limbs, but to keep ourselves awake, for riding for hours on a stretch in a hot sun, when you have only had 3 or 4 hours sleep, soon makes you sleepy, and your head begins to bob, and now and then you are within an ace of falling off your horse, Good old water-bottles empty!  “How far to the next water?  Old chap let me just wet my lips from your bottle?”  “Empty”  “empty” all along the line is the only answer you get.  Look!  what is all that smoke ahead, and the flames leaping towards us? The grass is on fire, and through it we must go, without spoiling the line.  Some horses gib, oh! the heat! it is treble what it was and the ground black as far as the eye can see!  “2/6 for a sip of water” “well 5/-”, you hear men offering those amounts every where and I am sure some of us would not have minded giving gold.  The grass had been set on fire by the advance guard throwing matches away when lighting their pipes!  That day was the worst march we ever had though not … [manuscript ends in mid-sentence on page XI].

What happened to Bob Dale’s military career thereafter? 

Nothing further is known about Bob Dale’s Boer War military adventures after the skirmish at Dekiel’s Drift. Standard published histories however, inform us about the further movements of the invading forces.  Roberts and Kitchener managed with great secrecy to move some 60 000 men to the vicinity of Ramdam in the OFS  From there French’s Flying Column (the cavalry division, led by Sir John French), exploited a gap in the Boer siege lines and galloped into Kimberley on 15 February 1900.  The besiegers, and the defenders of Magersfontein, promptly withdrew in the direction of Bloemfontein, their wagon trains fatally delaying them.  After just a few hours’ rest, the cavalry division set out in pursuit, trapping 4 000 burghers under Cronjé at Paardeberg Drift on the Modder River.  Ignoring entreaties from the OFS commander, Christiaan de Wet, to break out, Cronjé surrendered on 27 February – a catastrophe for the Boers. The main British army, brushing aside only slight resistance, Roberts entered Bloemfontein on 17 March 1900, forcing President Steyn to move his government to Kroonstad.  The OFS was annexed to the crown as the Orange River Colony.  After 6 weeks of waiting for transport and supplies, the British resumed their advance (with Roberts leading the main force of 43 000 men, about 120 guns, over 10 000 horses and approximately 2 500 wagons divided into 2 main columns) along the main rail route to Johannesburg and Pretoria.  Roberts marched into Johannesburg (surrendered by the Boers on 31 May) and finally marched into Pretoria on 5 June 1900. 

“Marching to Pretoria” – South African folk song having association (if not also origins) with Lord Roberts’ march on Pretoria

            French’s cavalry entered Pretoria via Daspoort and after a skirmish with General S.P. du Toit’s burghers west of the Crocodile River. The ZAR was declared the British colony of Transvaal and Kitchener succeeded Roberts. President Kruger relocated to Machadodorp.  From June to August there followed a series of battles with Roberts slowly driving the Boer forces eastwards on Lydenburg and Komatiepoort. French’s cavalry division was positioned in the vicinity of Geluk, about 17 km south of Belfast when Roberts arrived at Belfast on 25 August 1900 to direct an all-out attack on Machadodorp, commanding a combined force of about 23 500, including some 5 400 mounted troops, 82 guns and 25 Vickers-Maxim guns. 

            Roberts made his first move for the impending battle of Bergendal / Dalmanutha (27 August 1900) by moving French’s cavalry division to Belfast. It was given the task of attacking Louis Botha’s right flank to clear the path for Pole-Carew’s 11th Division, which was to advance north of the railway on Komatiepoort. French advanced as far as Swartkoppies on the Belfast-Lydenburg road, having met with little opposition from the Boer right-flank defences. During the night Botha withdrew his line of defence to Helvetia, thus enabling French to advance on Elandsfontein on 28 August, without opposition. The combined advance on Machadodorp, Waterval-Boven and Nooitgedacht by the forces of French, Pole-Carew and Buller proved too much for Botha’s commandos, who now split up into several groups.  They had fought and lost one of the last major conventional battles of the war at Bergendal. To the south General French cleared the country around Carolina.  East of Belfast, the prisoner of war camp near Waterval-Onder was reached and the prisoners liberated.  Kruger went into exile and guerilla warfare intensified. The British, however, were still made to pay dearly for their gains before the Boers finally agreed to lay down their weapons following the Treaty of Vereeniging in May 1902. 

            After the war, Bob Dale – a Tommie [9]who joined up for fun and to punish the colonial Rebels – ironically had to marry a woman from Wellington in the Cape Colony – who happened to be both orphan and Boer – my great-grandmother Iconetta (Kittie) Christina Marais (1883-1963). [10]

Iconetta (Kittie) Christina Marais (1883-1963)

The result of this (initially illicit) union was their eldest child: my maternal grandmother, Gertrude Christiana Priem, née Dale (1904-1981).    

Gertrude Christiana Dale (1904-1981)

Conceived out of war and its inherent violence, this fateful union between Brit and Boerin produced many descendants in South Africa and further abroad …        

 

The Cry of South Africa

Give back my dead!

They who by kop and fountain

First saw the light upon my rocky breast!

Give back my dead,

The sons who played upon me

When childhood’s dews still rested on their heads.

Give back my dead

Whom thou hast riven from me

By arms of men loud called from earth’s farthest bound

To wet my bosom with my children’s blood!

Give back my dead,

The dead who grew up on me!

– Olive Schreiner
Wagenaar’s Kraal, Three Sisters.
 May 9, 1900

The Dead

34 000 Boer-African lives

22 000 British & Imperial (including British-African) lives

15 000 Black-African lives

(Thomas Packenham’s estimates)

The Song of South Africa

She says:  “I forge as a holy right

The fruit of endless pain;

I smite them way over the mountains

and smother them in the desert sands.”

She says:  “Never have I yielded;

I let them starve, thirst and bleed;

they struggle through and perish vanquished,

and adore me as a flame that scorches.

Ten times they had to fight for me,

ten times they had to squirm and stew,

ten times in the dust dispersed,

ten times stand up again and bleed.

My love tolerates no rival –

futile the woman’s wail,

from infants all the deafening silence:

My love exacts a single allegiance.

Their deepest hope is already conquered,

vanished in smoke and ash and blood,

penitent they fall around me,

I feel their tears on my foot.

I utter their name no longer,

never could I call them children;

in foreign tongues I hear them

the faint whispering of their fame.

And flaming like a sword, indivisible

of my love only the pain remains;

I smite them way over the mountains

and smother them in the desert sands.”

Eugène Nielen Marais (1871-1936)
(English translation from the Afrikaans: Mansell George Upham

Die Lied van Suid-Afrika

Sy sê:  “Ek vorder as ‘n heil’ge reg

die vrug van eindelose pyn;

ek smyt hulle oor die berge weg,

en smoor hulle in die sandwoestyn.

Sy sê:  “Nooit het ek iets gegee;

ek laat hulle honger, dors en bloei;

hulle worstel deur en sterf gedwee,

en min my as ‘n vlam wat skroei.

Tien male moes hulle veg vir my,

tien male moes hulle kerm en stoei,

tien male in stof gebrei,

tien male opstaan weer en bloei.

My liefde duld geen ewenaar –

vergeefs die weeklag van die vrou,

van kleintjies al die stom gebaar:

My liefde verg ‘n enkel trou.

Hulle diepste hoop is lang verteer,

vergaan in rook en as en bloed,

hulle sak aanbiddend om my neer,

ek voel hulle trane op my voet.

Ek adem nooit hulle name meer,

nooit kon ek hulle kinders noem;

in vreemde tale hoor ek weer

die dowwe fluistering van hulle roem.

En vlymend soos ‘n swaard, geheg

bly van my liefde slegs die pyn;

ek smyt hulle oor die berge weg,

en smoor hulle in die sandwoestyn.”

– Eugène Nielen Marais (1871-1936)

Monopolising Inclusivity … entrenching Exclusivity

Acceptable to God and approved of man … The South African Campaign …

– seen on a tomb, Salisbury Cathedral, Wiltshire, England

A war in South Africa would be one of the most serious wars that could possibly be waged.  It would be in the nature of a Civil War.  It would be a long war, a bitter war and a costly war,…it would leave behind it embers of a strife which I believe generations would hardly be long enough to extinguish…to go to war with President Kruger, to force upon him reforms in the internal affairs of his state, with which [we] have repudiated all right of interference – that would have been a course of action as immoral as it would have been unwise.

– Joseph Chamberlain, speaking as Colonial Secretary in the House of Commons, May 1896

Joseph Chamberlain (8 July 1836 – 2 July 1914)

Our future is very dark – God alone knows how dark. Perhaps it is the fate of our little race to be sacrificed on the altar of the world’s Ideals; perhaps we are destined to be the martyr race…

Jan Smuts 19011

100 years have lapsed since the outbreak of the war now ‘officially’ renamed The Anglo-Boer South African War [sic].2 The dictates of inclusivity and reconciliation have reconstructed this war conditioning us to review our past in terms of present-day exactions, entitlement and fabricated nomenclature.  The name of the war has been blown up; so has the focus.  To many, the official commemorations amount to a non-event.  Have neo-scorched earth policies come into force that effectively neutralise, disarm, dismember and disempower the combatants of the past? 

Are we now expected to concentrate on other camps? 

No matter how we view – or are made to view this war – we are nevertheless constantly bombarded and reminded how people remember, commemorate and keep alive memories of other recent wars, diasporadic enslavement and holocausts, when so many innocent and civilian/tribal lives were also exterminated.

            Recent ceremonies and media coverage of the war confirmed the deafening silence – and not only from the graves of the war’s victims.  After invasion comes evasion?  Netherlands-based-British-born historian, Robert Ross (in his latest book A Concise History of South Africa  informs us in a caption under a photograph of Cecil John Rhodes that [c]ompletely unselfconsciously … Rhodes … intertwined personal gain and British imperialism.  As aggressors in this war, the British Crown and Government are content to leave cleaning-up operations to the present South African constitutional order.3 British unwillingness to even consider accountability, reparations and compensation were once again ignored when British Prime Minister John Major addressed Parliament in Cape Town on 20 September 1994:

… We British were relative latecomers to Africa.  But in the four hundred years since Sir Francis Drake’s epic voyage of 1580, we have been deeply involved with this continent. Trade, rather than colonisation, was the reason for early British and European contacts with Africa.  Benign commerce turned, however, into the slave trade and – at its height in the 18th century – into the transportation of over 6 million Africans.  The British Parliament outlawed this moral outrage in 1807 and the Dutch followed suit seven years later.  As the nineteenth century progresses, philanthropic explorers and Christian missionaries travelled courageously through Africa – but, in turn, they unwittingly paved the way for the harsh incursions of rival Empire-builders.  At the century’s end, right and wrong mingled on each side in the Boer wars, and left a bitter legacy …

[W]e have a direct interest, a very great stake, in your future … We have a stake because almost a million people of British descent live in South Africa – a huge community.  Our peoples are inextricably linked in all manner of public and private relationships: business, cultural, sporting, scientific, military, political ties, and for a great many people, family affections.  These bonds are a source of pride and confidence.  And I am sure they will endure …

Commemoration or collective memory can be silent – can be silenced; but can it be obliterated? Whether we sing Kent gij dat volk?  or whether the Duke of Kent graces us with his presence – memory and recollection continue to resonate … that roar on the other side of silence … –  even if it is only individuals and families that do not forget.  We have so much to tell, so much to unload.  This compilation is testimony to just one of many untapped personal accounts and untold suffering that continue to haunt us.

“…ek smyt hulle oor die berge weg,

en smoor hulle in die sandwoestyn…”

“Tien male moes hulle veg vir my,

“tien male moes hulle kerm en stoei,

“tien male in die stof gebrei,

“tien male opstaan weer en bloei…

“Hulle diepste hoop is lang verteer,

“vergaan in rook en as en bloed,

“hulle sak aanbiddend om my neer,

“ek voel hulle trane op my voet.

“Ek adem nooit hulle name meer,

“nooit kon ek hulle kinders noem;

“in vreemde tale hoor ek weer

die dowwe fluistering van hulle roem.

  • Eugene Nielen Marais (1871-1936)
Captain H. G. Majendie

Captain H. G. Majendie, The Rifle Brigade, Egyptian Army & Robert’s Light Horse, mortally wounded at Dekiel’s Drift (February 1900)

India General Service 1854-95, 2 clasps, Burma 1887-89, Burma 1889-92 (Lieut., 4th Bn. Rif Brig.); Queen’s Sudan 1896-98 (Cpt., 4/Bn. E.A.); Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, 1 clasp, Cape Colony (Capt., Robert’s Light Horse); Khedive’s Sudan 1896-1908, 3 clasps, The Atbara, Khartoum, Sudan 1899, unnamed as issued; Order of the Medjidie, 4th class breast badge, silver, gold and enamels, extremely fine

Henry Grylls Majendie was born on 28 March 1865, son of Colonel Sir Vivian Majendie, K.C.B., and was educated at Winchester and Sandhurst. He was gazetted to the Rifle Brigade on 9 May 1885 and joined the 4th Battalion in India later that year. He served with the Mounted Infantry of his battalion in the latter phases of the war in Burma, receiving the medal with two clasps.

                On the return of the 4th Battalion to England in 1891, he was appointed Adjutant, which position he held until June 1895. Promoted Captain in April 1894, he joined the Egyptian Army in December 1897, and almost at once found himself on active service. In February 1898 he took part in the reconnaissance to Shendy, being in command of a gunboat in the flotilla commanded by Captain Colin Keppel, Royal Navy. Four of the enemy’s boats were captured and Majendie was enabled to make some useful notes and sketches of the Arab defences and dispositions about Shendy. Majendie was subsequently present at the battles of the Atbara and Khartoum, and the occupation of Khartoum. He contributed an excellent account of the fight at Atbara, and of Macdonald’s share in the fight at Omdurman, in the Rifle Brigade Chronicle of 1898. Majendie’s 4th Egyptian Battalion was warmly engaged in these actions.

                On the return of the British troops northward, Majendie’s Battalion was sent to Fashoda, where his men suffered so terribly from fever that he was ordered to withdraw. At that moment the Khalifa had approached to within striking distance of Fashoda, but Majendie, sooner than permit the ‘friendly’ tribesmen to imagine that his withdrawal was due to the proximity of the Dervishes, on his own responsibility allowed his men to go north, but himself remained behind at Fashoda until he had restored confidence in the local ‘Mek’, or Chief. He subsequently rejoined the remains of his fever-stricken Battalion at Khartoum in August 1899. Whilst at Fashoda he made a big bag of game and contributed an interesting paper to the Rifle Brigade Chrinicle on “Fashoda and the South” which appeared in the 1899 issue.

                Soon after his return to Khartoum his Battalion was ordered to Cairo, but as there was a fresh move against the Khalifa in prospect he obtained leave to remain in the Soudan. Although seriously ill with fever contracted at Fashoda, he accompanied this expedition up the Nile in October; it was, however, unfortunately futile. On the 13th November he started for England, and on his arrival at once applied for employment in South Africa. He was shortly gazetted as Deputy Assistant Adjutant General, and on his arrival at the Cape he was employed on the lines of communication at De Aar. Soon after he was selected for the post of second-in-command of Robert’s Horse, a portion of which regiment was at the time in De Aar, and of which he assumed command.

                The corps had only recently been formed, and this being the case there was necessarily much to do. On 18th January, having refitted and reorganised his command, he marched off with it to Prieska on Flying Column. From thence he marched to Orange River and after a day’s halt he went off again to Sunnyside. The next move was to Belmont, and then to join the concentration at Ramdam.

‘At 2 a.m. on February 12th, 1900, we marched out. Majendie rode part of the way with me; he was much pleased because the general situation had so much improved. He said he felt sure that the move in which we were taking part was one which would produce great results. When day broke the enemy opened fire, and we were sent with the bulk of the mounted troops to turn their left.

                ‘At about 8 a.m. we reached De Kiel’s Drift, where we were to cross the river, here we found a small force of the enemy in position; our guns opened fire and the order came for Robert’s Horse to force the passage of the river. Two squadrons were sent off, Majendie was riding on the flank, and I could see he was looking very disappointed at not being sent with them, for as second-in-command he expected to go.

‘A few minutes after they had started an order came for him to follow them and take command. At once his whole bearing changed, he acknowledged the order and galloped off. He led them across the river and on reaching the far side we came under a sharp enfilade fire and he was shot at the head of his men. As he fell he called out to one of the squadron commanders to go on and leave him.

                ‘About a quarter of an hour later the enemy fell back and retired. He was carried down to the river and everything that medical skill could do was done for him. It was a terrible exertion to him to speak and he said but little. Never did man make a more gallant fight for life or bear pain in a braver manner, he never made a word of complaint. He said “I was the first over the river.” … “I am afraid I make a great fuss.” … “Do Harper well.” … Harper was his Rifle Brigade servant, who had come to the regiment with him. During the afternoon he became unconscious, and at 10 p.m. he died. I saw him after death, he had changed very little. His face was quite peaceful, and in the end he seemed to have passed away without pain.’

Grave of Capt Henry Gryll Majendie

[1] Robert Vaughan Dale (1878-1947). Born at Winchmore Hill, Edmondton, Middlesex, England on 8 June 1878, he was the son of Robert Dale (1843-1884) & Gertrude Brown (1851-1927).  A `remittance man`, his widowed mother banished him to Africa where his father and uncle, Arthur Dale, had business interests in Cape Town through their association with E.K. Green.  He joined ( c. 1898 ) his half-brother, Joseph Hugh Lilley Dale (1872-1948) already resident in the Cape Colony.  

[2] The manuscript ends abruptly on page XI, Part I being incomplete and Part 2 non-existent.  Was it ever finished?

[3] The term rebel used here indicates how Boer independence – even though de jure and guaranteed in terms of international treaties – was not being generally appreciated or respected by the British.

[4] Major battles had already taken place, eg: Talana Hill (20 October 1899) – a tactical victory for the British;  Modder River (28 November 1899) – claimed as a victory by the British, but the Boers succeeded in halting the march to Kimberley and Magersfontein (11 December 1899) –  a Boer victory forcing the commander of the British 1st Division, Lieutenant-General Lord Methuen, to retreat to the Modder River camp and await French’s cavalry division to help relieve Kimberley which only happened on 15 February 1900.  These, together with the Battle of Colenso (15 December 1899) – another Boer victory in which Lieutenant Frederick Roberts (son of Lord Roberts) was killed  –  resulted in increased British aggressiveness in recruiting loyal subjects locally.  It was at this time, following the string of disasters known as Black Week, that Bob Dale joined up.  His half-brother Hugh Dale also joined up, was wounded in the leg and thereafter acted as war correspondent.

[5] ie 2nd Regiment of the South African Light Horse.

[6] ie Field Marshal Lord Roberts of Kandahar.  He replaced General Sir Redvers Buller as Commander-in-Chief during December 1899 resolving to advance northwards (using the western railway system to relieve Kimberley and then launch a flank advance on Bloemfontein) and save the gold mines, rescue 3 000 British prisoners held at Pretoria and end the war.  He arrived at Cape Town on 10 January 1900 on board the Dunottar Castle.

[7] Horatio Herbert Kitchener, Chief-of-Staff to Lord Roberts.

[8] MajendieCapt. Henry Grylls Majendie, Rifle Brigade died Feb. 13th, 1900, of wounds received in action previous day at Dekiel’s Drift, Riet River. He was only son of the late Col. Sir Vivian Dering Majendie K.C.B., was born March, 1865, educated at Winchester and entered the Rifle Brigade in 1885, was promoted Lieut. June, 1891, and Capt. April, 1894.  He was adjutant of battalion from June, 189I-95, and served in the Burmese Expedition of 1888-89 with the 4th Batt. Rifle Brigade receiving the medal with clasp.  Capt. Majendie next saw service in the campaign in the Soudan under Lord (then Sir Herbert) Kitchener in 1898, and was present at the battles of Atbara and Khartoum (mentioned in despatches).  He was also in the subsequent operations, being again mentioned in despatches, and received the British medal, the Egyptian medal with two clasps, and was grant the Fourth Class of the Order of the Medjidie.  He was appointed to the Egyptian Army from Dec. 1897, and in South Africa was employed on special service.  (Jon Seagers – personal communication 26 June 1998 – extracted from Officers Who Fell in South Africa – The Last Post, p. 242).

[9] Derived from the patriotic ditty ‘Private Tommy Atkins’ by Henry Hamilton & S. Potter and given temporary fame by the singer Hayden Coffin?  See The Edwardian Song Book:  Drawing-Room Ballads 1900-1904  selected and introduced by Michael R. Turner & Antony Miall (Metheun, London 1982).

[10] Daughter of Willem Jacobus Marais & Johanna Catharina Lombard who both died in mysterious circumstances.  She and her brother were farmed out as orphans and adopted by Jan de Witt and his wife, Hester Hamman.

1 Sir Keith Hancock, Smuts:  The Sanguine Years, 1870-1919 (Cambridge 1962), p. 131 & Edwin S. Munger, The Afrikaners & John H. Chettle, Afrikaners and the future (Tafelberg, Cape Town 1979).

2 War was declared on 11 October 1899 and terminated on 31 May 1902.

3 Eg, see the recent statement by the British High Commission in Cape Town quoted in Edwin Lombard’s article ‘Khoi-san eis vergoeding vir hul grond’ featured in Rapport Metro (8 August 1999), p. 5.

Beauty and her Beasts of Prey – the Hottentot Venus and her Keepers’ Arty-Farty Anglo-Dutch network

Beauty and her Beasts of Prey –

 the Hottentot Venus and her Keepers’ Arty-Farty Anglo-Dutch network

By Mansell Upham

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Cape of Good Hope aborigine Saartje Baartman (c. 1789-1815)[1] performs (10 January 1810) in London, England in a pantomime called:

« The Hottentot Venus »

at the recently rebuilt New Theatre [Covent Garden Theatre] – designed by Sir Robert Smirke RA (1 October 1780 – 18 April 1867) and opened (September 1809). The pantomime is featured at the end of the evening’s entertainment.[2]

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The false claim by Muriel Lederman and Ingrid Bartsch[3]  – and perpetuated by Wikipedia[4] – that Baartman – recently arrived (1810) in London from Cape Town – had already been exhibited (24 November 1810) at the Egyptian Hall [sic] in Piccadilly, needs to be corrected. 

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Egyptian Hall

The Egyptian Hall only opened (1812) – two years later.  

No surprise then, that its founder  the traveller, naturalist and antiquarian William Bullock (c. 1773 – 7 March 1849), a rival of Baartman’s protégée, Alexander Dunlop – former surgeon and medical superintendent of the Slave Lodge in Cape Town –  accuses Dunlop during the Examination of the Hottentot Venus  at the Court of King’s Bench (27 November 1810)[5] of ‘enslaving’ and exhibiting Baartman against her will, while later (1845), he himself brazenly exhibits living Bushmen and their children – in their natural state – at his Egyptian Hall.

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More correctly, Baartman had been initially performing at the Egyptian ROOM at the London residence No. 10 Duchess Street, Cavendish Square of that capriccioso Regency dilettante:

Hope Residence at 10 Duchess Street, Westminster

Thomas Hope (30 August 1769 – 3 February 1831)

Ever wonder about Baartman’s spectacular costumes and the sheer theatricality that went into promoting and staging her act?  Read on …

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Thomas Hope (30 August 1769 – 3 February 1831)

Outré, this effeminate Dutch-British merchant banker, author, philosopher and aesthete (interior decorator, art collector, and ottomanophile) – whose trader Scottish great-grandfather, Archibald Hope Sr. (1664–1743), emigrated to Rotterdam where his eldest son Archibald Hope Jr. (1698–1734) started the famous Hope & Co. Bank – is best known for his groundbreaking novel Anastasius

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Archibald Hope Sr. (1664–1743)

The Dutch connections here become important and are particularly noteworthy:

Baartman’s impresario is the fellow Capetonian, the Dutch-speaking mixed race

Hendrik Caesar

– a member of the Cape of Good Hope’s Vrijcorps[6] and former musician at Cape Town’s African Theatre – known variously as the

  • Zuid-Afrikaansche Schouwburg (‘South African Theatre’)
  • Kaapsche Schouwburg (‘Cape theatre’)
  • Di Schouwberg (‘The Theatre’) and often as
  • the Komediehuis (‘Comedy House’)

on Hottentot Square – now St Stephen’s Dutch Reformed Church in the thricely renamed square: 

  • Boeren Plein,
  • Van Riebeeck Plein and now
  • Heritage Square.
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As for the hypocritical Bullock’s later exhibitions of five Bushmen (including children) – at Liverpool, Manchester, Dublin and London – and the inaugural lecture by the surgeon Dr Robert Knox, attended by VIPs such as:

  • Prince Louis Napoleon Bonaparte,
  • Lord Stanley,
  • Mrs Charles Dickens,
  • the Duke of Wellington  
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we are fortunate to have a contemporary testimony  (17 May 1847)  by Charles Dickens (1812-1870) – who also goes to gawk – recording his subsequent consternation, as follows[7]

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Charles Dickens

“Think of the two men and the two women who have been exhibited about England for some years. 

Are the majority of persons – who remember the horrid little leader of that party in his festering bundle of hides, with his filth and his antipathy to water, and his straddled legs, and his odious eyes shaded by his brutal hand, and his cry of ‘Qu-u-u-u-aaa!’ (Bosjesman for something desperately insulting, I have no doubt) – conscious of an affectionate yearning towards that noble savage, or is it idiosyncratic in me to abhor, detest, abominate, and abjure him? 

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I have no reserve on this subject, and will frankly state that, setting aside that stage of the entertainment when he counterfeited the death of some creature he had shot, by laying his head on his hand and shaking his left leg – at which time I think it would have been justifiable homicide to slay him – I have never seen that group sleeping, smoking, and expectorating round their brazier, but I have sincerely desired that something might happen to the charcoal smouldering therein, which cause the immediate suffocation of the whole of the noble strangers.”

The Egyptian Hall in Piccadilly, London

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An Exhibition hall built (1812) in ancient Egyptian style to the designs of Peter Frederick Robinson famous for housing a museum variously referred to as:

  • the London Museum
  • the Egyptian Hall
  • the Egyptian Museum
  • Bullock’s Museum.

A considerable success, with exhibitions of artwork, exotica, imported indigenous people and of Napoleonic era relics, the hall is later used for popular entertainments and lectures, and develops an association with magic and spiritualism, becoming known as “England’s Home of Mystery”.

Demolished (1905) to make way for flats and offices.

Commissioned by William Bullock as a museum to house his collection, which includes curiosities brought back from the South Seas by Captain Cook.

Completed (1812) at a cost of £16,000 – it is the 1st building in England to be influenced by the Egyptian style, partly inspired by the success of the Egyptian Room in Thomas Hope’s house in Duchess Street , which is open to the public and well illustrated in Hope’s Household Furniture & Interior Decoration (London, 1807). Unlike Bullock’s Egyptian temple in Piccadilly, Hope’s neclassical façade betrays no hint of the Egyptianizing decor contained within.

Hope Residence at 10 Duchess Street, Westminster

Detailed renderings of various temples on the Nile, the Pyramids and the Sphinx had been accumulating for connoisseurs and designers in works such as:

  • Bernard de Montfaucon’s 10-volume L’Antiquité expliquée et representée en figures (1719-1724), which reproduces, methodically grouped, all the ancient monuments,
  • Benoît de Maillet’s Description de l’Égypte (1735),
  • Richard Pococke’s A Description of the East and Some Other Countries (1743), and
  • Frédéric Louis Norden’s Voyage d’Egypte et de Nubie(1755);

the 1st volume of the magisterial Description de l’Égypte (1810) had recently appeared in Paris.

Plans for the hall are drawn up by architect Peter Frederick Robinson.

Bullock, who had displayed his collection in Sheffield and Liverpool before opening in London, uses the hall to put on various spectaculars, from which he makes money from ticket sales.

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Bullock’s Museum [Wellcome Collection]

The Hall is a considerable success, with an exhibition of Napoleonic era relics in 1816 including Napoleon’s carriage taken at Waterloo being seen by about 220,000 visitors. Bullock makes £35,000.

In 1819, Bullock sells his ethnographical and natural history collection at auction and converts the museum into an exhibition hall.

Subsequently, the Hall becomes a major venue for the exhibiting of works of art; it has the advantage of being almost the only London venue able to exhibit really large works. Usually admission is 1 shilling.

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The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault is exhibited (10 June-December 1820), overshadowing Benjamin Robert Haydon’s painting, Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem, on show in an adjacent room. Haydon rents rooms to show his work on several occasions.

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 In 1821, exhibitions include

  • Giovanni Battista Belzoni’s show (1821) of tomb of Seti I, &
  • James Ward’s gigantic Allegory of Waterloo.

In 1822, a family of Laplanders [Sami] with their reindeer are imported to be displayed in front of a painted backdrop, and give short sleigh-rides to visitors.

Bookseller George Lackington becomes the owner of the Hall (1825) using facilities to show panoramas , art exhibits, and entertainment productions. The Hall became especially associated with watercolours. The Old Water-Colour Society exhibits there (1821–22), and it is hired by Charles Heath to display  watercolours commissioned by Joseph Mallord of William Turner forming Picturesque Views in England & Wales. Turner exhibits at the Hall for a number of years and it is also used as a venue for exhibitions by the Society of Paintets in Water Colours. In the Dudley Gallery at the Egyptian Hall, the valuable collection of pictures belonging to the Earl of Dudley is deposited during the erection of his own gallery at Dudley House in Park Lane . The room gives its name to the Dudley Gallery Art Society (aka The Old Dudley Art Society) when they are founded (1861) & uses it for their exhibitions. It is the venue chosen for their 1st exhibitions by the influential New English Art Club .

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The Hall is used principally for popular entertainments and lectures. Here Albert Smith relates his ascent of Mont Blanc, illustrated by some cleverly dioramic views of the Alpine peaks. By end of the 19th century, the Hall is also associated with magic and spiritualism, as a number of performers and lecturers hire it for shows.

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William Morton takes on the Hall’s management (1873) and modifies it for his protégés, Maskelyne and Cooke, whose run there lasts a remarkable 31 years. The Hall becomes known as England’s Home of Mystery. Many illusions are staged including the exposition of fraudulent spiritualistic manifestations then being practised by charlatans – the final performance being (5 January 1905).

The building is demolished (1905) to make room for blocks of flats and offices at 170–173 Piccadilly. The Maskelynes relocate to the St. George’s Hall in Langham Place, which becomes known as Maskelyne’s Theatre.

William Bullock (c. 1773 – 7 March 1849) – English traveller, naturalist, antiquarian & exhibitor.

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William Bullock by Jean-Henri Marlet

The collection displayed in the Piccadilly Egyptian Hall

Bullock begins as a goldsmith and jeweller in Birmingham. In Liverpool (by 1795), he founds a Museum of Natural Curiosities at 24 Lord Street. While still trading as a jeweller and goldsmith, publishes (1801) a descriptive catalogue of the works of art, armoury, objects of natural history, and other curiosities in the collection, some of which are brought back by members of James Cook’s expeditions.

He moves (1809) to London and the collection, housed 1st at 22 Piccadilly and in the newly built Piccadilly Egyptian Hall (1812), prove to be extremely popular. Collection, which includes over 32,000 items, is disposed of by auction (1819).

Bullock testifies (1810) in a law case concerning Saartje Baartman, a Cape aboriginal woman brought to England for purposes of exhibition as the Hottentot Venus. Bullock had been approached by Alexander Dunlop, the army surgeon responsible for Baartman’s arrival in England, but had declined to be involved in the proposed show.

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He goes (1822) to Mexico becoming involved in silver mine speculation. He brings back numerous artefacts and specimens which form a new exhibition in the Egyptian Hall. A 2nd visit to Mexico, and to the United States, follows in 1827.  Bullock buys land on the bank of the Ohio River from Thomas D. Carneal where he proposes to build a utopian community named Hygeia (a Greek word meaning health) laid out by John Buonarotti Papworth.

The speculation is not a success, although some people, including Frances Trollope, take part; Bullock sells the land to Israel Ludlow, Jr. in 1846.

Back in London (by 1843), he dies there at 14 Harley Terrace, Chelsea and is buried (16 March 1849) at St Mary’s Church, Chelsea.

Bullock is a fellow of the Linnean, Horticultural, Geological, Wernerian, and other learned societies, and publishes several pamphlets on natural history.

Works

  • A Companion to the Liverpool Museum, containing a brief description of … natural & foreign curiosities, antiquities & productions of the fine arts, open for public inspection … at the house of William Bullock, Church Street. Liverpool: T. Schofield, printer, ca. 1801., numerous editions.
  • A companion to Mr. Bullock’s London Museum and Pantherion : containing a brief description of upwards of fifteen thousand natural and foreign curiosities, antiquities, and productions of the fine arts, collected during seventeen years of arduous research … (Bullock, William, Howitt, Samuel and Wells, John West [London] First Printed for the proprietor,1812. 12th Edition
  • A concise and easy method of preserving objects of natural history: intended for the use of sportsmen, travellers, and others; to enable them to prepare and preserve such curious and rare articles. London: printed for the proprietor, 1818. 2. Ed.
  • Six months’ residence and travels in Mexico; containing remarks on the present state of New Spain, its natural productions, state of society, manufactures, trade, agriculture, and antiquities, &c.. London: John Murray, 1824.
  • Sechs Monate in Mexiko oder Bemerkungen über den gegenwärtigen Zustand Neu-Spaniens von W. Bullock. Aus dem Engl. übers. von Friedrich Schott. Dresden: Hilscher, 1825.
  • Le Mexique en 1823, ou Relation d’un voyage dans la Nouvelle-Espagne, contenant des notions exactes et peu connues sur la situation physique, morale et politique de ce pays. Paris: Alexis-Eymery, 1824.
  • A description of the unique exhibition, called Ancient Mexico: collected on the spot in 1823 … for public inspection at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly. London: Printed for the proprietors, 1824.
  • Catalogue of the exhibition, called modern Mexico : containing a panoramic view of the city, with specimens of the natural history of New Spain , and models of the vegetable produce, costume, &c. &c. : now open for public inspection at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly London :Printed for the proprietor, 1824
  • A descriptive catalogue of the exhibition, entitled Ancient and Modern Mexico: containing a panoramic view of the present city, specimens of the natural history of New Spain … at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly. London: Printed for the proprietors, 1825.
  • Sketch of a journey through the Western States of North America: from New Orleans, by the Mississippi, Ohio, city of Cincinnati and falls of Niagara, to New York, in 1827. London: Miller, 1827

Thomas Hope (30 August 1769 – 3 February 1831)

Dutch and British merchant banker, author, philosopher and art collector, best known for his novel Anastasius, a work considered to rival the writings of Lord Byron. He is the:

  • eldest son of Jan Hope (14 February 1737 – 1784) & Philippina Barbara van der Hoeven (1738-1790)
  • grandson of Thomas Hope (Rotterdam 1704–Amsterdam 26 December 1779) & Margaretha Marcelis
  • great-grandson of Scottish merchant Archibald Hope (1664–1743)

descending from a Scottish family who for several generations are merchant bankers known as the Hopes of Amsterdam, or Hope & Co. Six of the eight sons of Archibald Hope (1664–1743) 

  • Archibald Jr. (1698–1734)
  • Isaac
  • Zachary
  • Henry – freemason & merchant in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Thomas (1704–1779)
  • Adrian (1709–1781)

are merchants of trade – all  active in slavery, shipping, storage, insurance, and credit in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. 

Especially noteworthy is Thomas Hope (1704–1779) – one of the Lords XVII, director of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) (1752), head regent of the VOC (1756-1770), and spokesperson (1766) for both William IV & William V of Orange – formal head of the VOC succeeded by his son John Hope (1737–1784), who remains with the VOC and Hope & Co. until his death.

William V – Willem Batavus (8 March 1748 – 9 April 1806) Prince of Orange & last Stadtholder of the Dutch Republic exiled to London (1795) [Portrait by Henry Bone (1801)]

His father spends his final years turning his summer home Groenendaal Park in Heemstede into a grand park of sculpture open to the public.

In 1784 (aged 15), his father dies unexpectedly in The Hague just after purchasing Bosbeek on the grounds of Groenendaal Park to house his large art collection. He shares his art collection as part of the Hope & Co. partnership with his cousin Henry Hope who has his Villa Welgelegen nearby. He does not enter the family business. Instead, when 18, he devotes his time to the study of the arts, especially the architecture and sculptures of the Ancient World. During his grand tour through Europe, Asia and Africa, he amasses a large collection of artefacts (eg the Hope Dionysus), returning to The Hague when his mother dies (1794).

The three Hope brothers

  • Thomas Hope (1769-1831)
  • Adriaan Elias Hope (1772-1834) – innovative gardener
  • Henry Philip Hope (1774-1839) – gem collector & jewelry specialist

along with their elder cousin

  • Henry Hope

who is executor of their mother’s will, flee to London to avoid the French occupation of the Netherlands (1795–1810). Thomas Hope never returns. They manage to remove their art collections to the safety of London, but leave behind their houses, summer homes and parks full of wall decorations, furniture, and heavy statuary. Later, after the French occupation, his younger brother Adrian Elias Hope returns to live at Groenendaal Park full-time and expand the gardens. Cousin Henry always hoped to return to his home, Villa Welgelegen, but dies (1811) before the House of Orange is restored (1814).

The brothers set up residence in London’s Duchess Street, Cavendish Square. He decorates the house in a very elaborate style with his own drawings with each room taking on a different style influenced by the countries he had visited. In essence, the combined art collections of Hope & Co., his parents and Henry Hope allow him to further pursue his artistic interests and he writes books on decoration and furniture. As with Villa Welgelegen, Henry Hope opens the house as a semi-public museum including three galleries of Ancient Greek and South Italian vases purchased from Sir William Hamilton’s 2nd vase collection.

Henry Philip Hope (1774-1839) – gem collector & jewelry specialist

In this eclectic wealthy residence of bachelors, younger brother Henry Philip Hope oversees the gem collection (acquiring the Hope Diamond and the Hope Pearl), while cousin Henry busies himself with the banking business and the Louisiana Purchase (sale in 1803 by France of Louisiana to the United States), together with  Baring Family, British-German bankers who found the Barings Bank. Thomas Hope does not settle in London, however, resuming instead his grand tour (1795) touring extensively the Ottoman Empire with visits to Turkey, Rhodes, Egypt, Syria, and Arabia. He stays for about a year in Istanbul / Constantinople producing some 350 drawings depicting the people and places he encounters, a collection now housed in the Benaki Museum, Athens. He is given free rein by the Hope & Co. firm to collect paintings, sculptures, antique objects and books for public display in Amsterdam on the Keizersgracht 444, and his London house in Duchess Street.

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After his marriage (1806) to Louisa de la Poer Beresford in 1806, he acquires a country seat at Deepdene, near Dorking in Surrey . Surrounded by his large collections of paintings, sculpture and antiques, Deepdene becomes a famous haven for men of letters as well as of people of fashion. Among the luxuries suggested by his fine taste, and provided to his guests, is a miniature library in several languages in each bedroom. He also frequently employs artists, sculptors and craftsmen. Bertel Thorvaldsen , the Danish sculptor, is indebted to him for the early recognition of his talents, and he is also a patron to Francis Legatt Chantrey and John Flaxman – commissioning the latter illustrations of the writings of Dante Alighieri. He develops the gardens in a particular version of picturesque style.

Noted for his snobbery and ugliness, one contemporary describes him as

“undoubtedly far from the most agreeable man in Europe. He is a little ill-looking man … with an effeminate face and manner.”

When the French painter Antoine Dubost exhibits a portrait of him titled Beauty And The Beast, portraying him as a monster offering his wife jewels, it causes a public scandal: the painting is mutilated by Louisa’s brother. A further scandal breaks out (1810) when he hooks up with a beautiful young Greek sailor, Aide, in the hope of  launching him into Society.

Painting of a Greek man by Nikiforos Lytras (1832-1904)
Greek sailor of Hydra by Louis Dupré (Versailles 9 January 1789 – Paris 12 October 1837) French painter especially noted for his travels in Greece & other regions within the Ottoman Empire & of his numerous paintings with Orientalist & Philhellene themes

He is the father of :

  • Henry Thomas Hope, art patron & politician
  • Sir Alexander James Beresford Hope, author & politician.

Writing

Eager to advance public awareness of historical painting and design and influence design in the grand houses of Regency London, he vigorously pursued his scholarly projects buy sketching furniture, room interiors and costumes, and publishing books with accompanying scholarly texts. He publishes (1807) sketches of his furniture, in a folio volume, titled Household Furniture and Interior Decoration, which considerable influenced and changed the upholstery and interior decoration of houses. His furniture designs in the pseudo-classical manner generally called “English Empire” are sometimes extravagant, and often heavy, but more restrained than the wilder and later flights of Thomas Sheraton.

Publishes (1809) Costumes of the Ancients, and Designs of Modern Costumes (1812), works which display in depth antiquarian research. A Historical Essay on Architecture, featuring illustrations based on his early drawings, is published posthumously (1835) by his family ensuring his fame in London’s aristocratic circles as ‘the costume and furniture man’. The sobriquet is regarded as a compliment by enthusiastic supporters, but for his critics, including Lord Byron, it is a term of ridicule.

Anastasius

Yearning for a different type of literary acclaim, Hope completes (1819) his novel Anastasius – a work of such academic interest, raw excitement and descriptive power that the 1st edition released by fabled London publisher, John Murray, becomes an overnight sensation. A 2nd edition sells out in 24 hours. Foreign translations in French, German and Flemish quickly follow. The novel lifts a curtain of ignorance about the East without being a mere retelling of Hope’s own travels. The eponymous narrator-hero Anastasius is fearless, curious, cunning, ruthless, brave and, above all, sexy. As a newly converted Muslim mercenary soldier, Selim, his travels thrusts him among friends, lovers and enemies. Hope’s descriptions reveal the lives of the inhabitants of the Ottoman Empire and provide astonishing glimpses of the wars fought among the Turks, Russians and Wahabees. It also describes many previously unknown details of Islamic culture: music, language, cuisine, religion, laws and literature.

Lord Byron – replica (c. 1835) by Thomas Phillips, oil on canvas (1813)

Because of his modesty, Hope originally chooses not to declare his authorship in the 1st edition. Ironically, given Hope’s mild reputation, the authorship of the dashing Anastasius is at first mistakenly attributed to Lord Byron, who, according to legend, confides to Marguerite, Countess of Blessington, that he wept bitterly on reading it.

“To have been the author of Anastasius, I would have given the two poems which brought me the most glory.”

These events prompt him to reveal his identity as author in later editions, adding a map of Anastasius’s travels and fine-tuning the text, although his authorship is initially greeted with incredulity by some journals.

Soon after his death (1831), his widow remarries her cousin William Carr Beresford, 1st Viscount Beresford. His family thereafter embraces conservative values, demolishing the writer’s legendary London home, dispersing his fabled art collection, and distancing themselves from his Oriental masterpiece. No substantial collection of Hope’s personal papers survive the family disavowal and Anastasius, his magnum opus, becomes a victim of the sanctimonious morality of the Victorian age. Nevertheless, it influences the later works of William Thackeray, Mark Twain and Herman Melville. More recently, the noted Orientalist, Robert Irwin, writes, “this book, one of the most important books of the 19th century, should be much more widely read.”

In addition to his other accomplishments, Hope is the author of an important philosophical work published posthumously, The Origin and Prospect of Man (1831), in which his speculations diverge widely from the social and religious views of the Victorian age. This volume, which has been cited by philosophy expert Roger Scruton, is a highly eclectic work and takes a global view of the challenges facing mankind.

In his obituary published in The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction (Volume 17, No. 476, Saturday, 12 February 1831), it is written,

“We remember the opinion of a writer in the Edinburgh Review, soon after the publication of Anastasius. With a degree of pleasantry and acumen peculiar to northern criticism, he asks,

‘Where has Mr. Hope hidden all his eloquence and poetry up to this hour? How is it that he has, all of a sudden, burst out into descriptions which would not disgrace the pen of Tacitus, and displayed a depth of feeling and vigour of imagination which Lord Byron could not excel? We do not shrink from one syllable of this eulogy.’ “

Still commonly known among literary circles as Anastasius Hope, the combined artistic legacy of Thomas Hope is still not undeserving of universal interest and importance.

Death & legacy

In later years Hope cements his position in society despite never obtaining a peerage. By the time he dies (1831), his contribution to art and architecture is widely recognised.

The two houses Hope created have been lost, Duchess Street is demolished (1851) by his son and the Deepdene (1969). The only complete surviving structure built by Hope is the Deepdene mausoleum. Built in 1818, the structure is the first recorded work at the Deepdene and is Hope’s final resting place. It is permanently sealed (1957) and buried (1960). The Mausolea and Monuments Trust has been working with Mole Valley District Council to rescue the structure and is running a campaign to excavate and repair it.

Description: C:\Users\M\Pictures\Photos\World\People\Cape Folk\Khoe\Venus\59622020_1655264557951002_4678498727252459520_n.jpg

[1] Mansell Upham , “From the Venus Sickness to the Hottentot Venus: Saartje Baartman & the three men in her life: Alexander Dunlop, Hendrik Caesar & Jean Riaux, Quarterly Bulletin of the National Library of South Africa, vol. 61 (2007), no. 1, p. 9-22 & no. 2, pp. 74-82.

[2] The Times (10 January 1811).

[3] “The Gender & Science Reader” (Routledge, New York 2001), p. 351.

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Baartman

[5]  KB 1/36/4, f. 117,

[6] A special military unit reserved for free-born men ‘of colour’ not qualifying fully as colonial burghers, being either born illegitimate or having fathers not born in freedom – blemished by illegitimacy and slave descent [see Hans F. Heese, ‘Die Inwoners van Kaapstad in 1800’, Kronos, vol. 7 (1983), pp. 42-61].

[7] “The Noble Savage”, Household Words (11 June 1853) – reprinted in Michael Slater (ed.), Charles Dickens: vol.3, “Gone astray and other pieces from Household words 1851-59” (Dent, London 1998), pp. 141-148.

Anglican Priest turned Missionary – HENRY MARTYN (1781-1812) – gives harrowing account of the Battle of Blaauw Berg (1806)

Anglican Priest turned Missionary HENRY MARTYN (1781-1812) gives harrowing account of the Battle of Blaauw Berg (1806)

By Mansell Upham

During his voyage to the East, Anglican priest and missionary Henry Martyn (1781-1812) witnesses the 2nd British conquest of the Cape of Good Hope (8 January 1806) where he spends that day tending to the dying soldiers.

Distressed by seeing the horrors of war, he comes away feeling that it is Britain’s destiny to convert, not colonize, the world. He writes in his diary:

“I prayed that … England whilst she sent the thunder of her arms to distant regions of the globe, might not remain proud and ungodly at home; but might show herself great indeed, by sending forth the ministers of her church to diffuse the gospel of peace …”

In his Journal (8 January 1806) [G. Smith, “First modern missionary to the Mohammedans 1781-1812” (The Religious Tract Society 1892)], he mentions the following:

“… a most tremendous fire of artillery behind a mountain abreast of the ship, just after 7 the morning”.

Soon thereafter, he goes ashore and accompanies some English soldiers to the battle site.

Crossing over a hill to the east of the Blouberg, he describes the scene he sees as he looks down on the battle plain:

“The ground then opened into a most extensive plain, which extended from the sea to the blue mountains [Hottentots-Holland Mountains] at a great distance on the east.

On the right was the little hill, to which we were attracted by seeing some English soldiers; we found that they were some wounded men of the 24th. They had all been taken care of by the surgeons of the Staff. Three were mortally wounded.

One, who was shot through the lungs, was spitting blood, and yet very sensible.

The surgeon desired me to spread a great-coat over him as they left him; as I did this, I talked to him a little of the blessed Gospel, and begged him to cry for mercy through Jesus Christ. The poor man feebly turned his head in some surprise, but took no further notice.

I was sorry to be obliged to leave him and go on after the troops, from whom I was not allowed to be absent, out of a regard to my safety.

On the top of the little hill lay Captain F., of the grenadiers of the same regiment, dead, shot by a ball entering his neck and passing into his head.

I shuddered with horror at the sight; his face and bosom were covered with thick blood, and his limbs rigid and contracted as if he had died in great agony.

Near him were several others dead, picked off by the riflemen of the enemy.

We then descended into the plain where the two armies had been drawn up. A marine of the Belliqueuse gave me a full account of the position of the armies and particulars of the battle. We soon met with some of the 59th, one a corporal, who often joins us in singing, and who gave the pleasing intelligence that the regiment had escaped unhurt, except Captain McPherson.

In the rear of the enemy’s army there were some farm-houses [the farm at Blaauw Bergs Valley belonging to the burgher Justinus (Justus) Nikolaus Keer (from Eisenach, Saxony)], which we had converted into a receptacle for the sick, and in which there were already 200, chiefly English, with a few of the enemy.

Here I entered, and found that 6 officers were wounded; but as the surgeon said they should not be disturbed, I did not go in, especially as they were not dangerously wounded. In one room I found a Dutch captain wounded, with whom I had a good deal of conversation in French.

Ritmeester Johannes Zacharias Moolman [Drostdy, Swellendam]

After a few questions about the army and the Cape, I could not help inquiring about Dr. Vanderkemp; he said he had seen him, but believed he was not at the Cape, nor knew how I might hear of him.

Johannes van der Kemp (Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 1747-Cape Town 1811) – military officer, doctor & missionary at Bethelsdorp [stipple engraving (1799) by William Ridley (1764– 1838)]

The spectacle at these houses was horrid. The wounded soldiers lay ranged within and without covered with blood and gore.

While the India troops remained here, I walked out into the field of battle with the surgeon.

All whom we approached cried out instantly for water.

Members of the Hottentot Light Infantry

One poor Hottentot I asked about Dr. Vanderkemp, I saw by his manner that he knew him; he lay with extraordinary patience under his wound on the burning sand; I did what I could to make his position comfortable, and laid near him some bread, which I found on the ground.

Another Hottentot lay struggling with his mouth in the dust, and the blood flowing out of it, cursing the Dutch in English, in the most horrid language; I told him he should rather forgive them, and asked him about God, and after telling him of the Gospel, begged he would pray to Jesus Christ; but he did not attend.

Member of the Hottentot Light Infantry

While the surgeon went back to get his instrument in hopes of saving the man’s life, a Highland soldier came up, and asked me in a rough tone, ‘Who are you?’ I told him, ‘An Englishman;’ he said, ‘No, no, you are French,’ and was going to present his musket. As I saw he was rather intoxicated, and might in mere wantonness fire, I went up to him and told him that if he liked he might take me prisoner to the English army, but that I was certainly an English clergyman. The man was pacified at last.

The surgeon on his return found the thigh bone of the poor Hottentot broken, and therefore left him to die.

After this I found an opportunity of retiring, and lay down among the bushes, and lifted up my soul to God.

I cast my eyes over the plain which a few hours before had been the scene of bloodshed and death, and mourned over the dreadful effects of sin.

Hottentots-Holland Mountains

How reviving to my thoughts were the Blue Mountains on the east, where I conceived the missionaries labouring to spread the Gospel of peace and love …”.

View from atop Blouberg


HENRY MARTYN (18 February 1781-16 October 1812)Anglican priest and missionary to peoples of India and Persia [Iran] who is remembered for his courage, selflessness and religious devotion – he is celebrated in parts of the Anglican Communion and commemorated with a Lesser Festival on 19 October. During his time in India, he preaches and occupies himself in the study of linguistics, translating the New Testament into Urdu, Persian [Farsi] and Judaeo-Persic as well as the Psalms into Persian and Book of Common Prayer into Urdu.

Born in Truro, Cornwall, his father, John Martyn, is a ‘captain’ or mine-agent at Gwennap. Educated at Truro Grammar School under Dr. Cardew and St John’s College, Cambridge (1797), becoming a senior wrangler and 1st Smith’s prizeman (1801) and chosen (1802), as a fellow of his college.

Intending to go to the bar, he accidentally hears (October term of 1802) Charles Simeon speaking of the ‘good’ done in India by a single missionary, William Carey, and some time afterwards, reads the life of David Brainerd, a missionary to the Native Americans, resolving, accordingly, to become a missionary himself.

Ordained (22 October 1803) a deacon at Ely, and afterwards as a priest serving as Simeon’s curate at Church of Holy Trinity where he takes charge of the neighbouring parish of Lolworth.

Missionary work

A financial disaster in Cornwall deprives him and his unmarried sister of their father’s inherited income, forcing to earn an income to support him and his sister. Offering his services to the Church Missionary Society, he obtains chaplaincy under the British East India Company and leaves for India (5 July 1805).

On the voyage to the East, he is present at the British conquest of the Cape of Good Hope (8 January 1806) spending that day tending to dying soldiers.

Arriving in India (April 1806), and for some months stationed at Aldeen, near Serampur, he proceeds (October 1806) to Dinapur. There he is soon able to conduct worship among the locals in the vernacular, and establish schools. He transfers (April 1809) to Cawnpore, where he preaches to British and Indians in his own compound, in spite of interruptions and threats from local non-Christians. Occupying himself in linguistic study which he had already, during his residence at Dinapur, been engaged in revising his Hindustani version of the New Testament, he now also translates the New Testament into Urdu also, and into Persian [Farsi] twice, as well as the Psalms into Persian, Gospels into Judaeo-Persic, and the Book of Common Prayer into Urdu – despite ill-health and “the pride, pedantry and fury of his chief munshi Sabat.”

Ordered by doctors to take sea voyage, he obtains leave to go to Persia and correct his Persian New Testament. From there, he plans to go to Arabia and compose an Arabic version. Seeing his work at Cawnpore rewarded on the previous day by the consecration of a new church, he leaves (1 October 1810) for Calcutta, from where he sails (7 January 1811) for Bombay, reaching the port on his 30th birthday.

From Bombay, he sets out for Bushire, bearing letters from Sir John Malcolm to men of position there, as also at Shiraz and Isfahan.  After an exhausting journey from the coast reaches Shiraz, he is soon plunged into discussion with disputants of all classes “… Sufi, Muslim, Jew, & Jewish Muslim, even Armenian, all anxious to test their powers of argument with the first English priest who had visited them.”

He next travels to Tabriz to present the Shah with a translation of the New Testament, which proves unsuccessful.  Sir Gore Ouseley, the British ambassador to the Shah, is unable to bring about a meeting, but delivers manuscript. Although Martyn cannot present the Bible in person, the Shah later writes him a letter:

“In truth (states royal letter of thanks to the ambassador) through the learned & unremitted exertions of the Reverend Henry Martyn it has been translated in a style most befitting sacred books, that is in an easy & simple diction … The whole of the New Testament is completed in a most excellent manner, a source of pleasure to our enlightened & august mind.”

At this time, seized with fever and after a temporary recovery, he sets off for Constantinople [Istanbul] intending to return on furlough to England to regain his strength and recruit help for the missions in India.

Starts (12 September 1812) with two Armenian servants and crosses the Aras River. Urged on from place to place by their Tatar guide, they ride from Tabriz to Erivan, from Erivan to Kars, and from Kars to Erzurum. They depart Erzurum and though the plague is raging at Tokat, they are forced to stop there. He writes his final Journal entry (6 October):

“Oh! when shall time give place to eternity? When shall appear that new heaven and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness? There, there shall in no wise enter in any thing that defileth: none of that wickedness which has made men worse than wild beasts, none of those corruptions which add still more to the miseries of mortality, shall be seen or heard of any more.”

He dies (16 October 1812), is given a Christian burial by Armenian clergy and is heard to say,

“Let me burn out for God”.

Legacy

His devotion to tasks wins him much admiration in Great Britain and he is celebrated in a number of literary publications. John McManners writes (Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity) that he is a man remembered for his courage, selflessness and his religious devotion. In parts of the Anglican Communion, he is celebrated with a Lesser Festival on 19 October.

Thomas Babington Macaulay’s Epitaph, composed (early in 1813), testifies to the impression made by his career:

Epitaph on Henry Martyn

Here Martyn lies. In Manhood’s early bloom
The Christian Hero finds a Pagan tomb.
Religion, sorrowing o’er her favourite son,
Points to the glorious trophies that he won.
Eternal trophies! not with carnage red,
Not stained with tears by hapless captives shed,
But trophies of the Cross! for that dear name,
Through every form of danger, death, and shame,
Onward he journeyed to a happier shore,
Where danger, death, and shame assault no more.

  • Henry Martyn Institute: An Interfaith Centre for Reconciliation & Research in Hyderabad, India is established in his name.
  • Henry Martyn Trust based in Cambridge, England traces its history back to 1897, at a time of great enthusiasm in Cambridge for overseas missions, when an appeal is launched for a ‘Proposed Missionary Library for Cambridge University’, to be housed in the Henry Martyn Hall, erected 10 years previously.
  • Henry Martyn Library opens in the Hall (1898), & there it remains as a small collection of missionary biographies & other books (until 1995).

The evolution of the Henry Martyn Library into present Henry Martyn Centre begins (1992), when Canon Graham Kings, now Bishop of Sherborne, is appointed 1st Henry Martyn Lecturer in Missiology in the Cambridge Theological Federation. The Centre becomes (1999) the Associate Institute of Cambridge Theological Federation, one of largest providers of theological education in the United Kingdom. Today, the Centre continues to seek to promote the study of mission and world Christianity, developing strong links with mission study centres around the world and fulfilling the same aim stated by the founders of Library (1897).

Henry Martyn (1781-1812)

SOUTH AFRICA'S FIRST PUBLIC LIBRARY

SOUTH AFRICA’S FIRST PUBLIC LIBRARY

By Mansell Upham

“The thing that appears to be chiefly wanting, which Mr [von] Dessin could not bequeath, is a collection of readers; for reading is not an African passion”.

– British colonial secretary at the Cape of Good Hope, Col. Christopher Chapman Bird (1769-1861), writing disparagingly about Von Dessin’s legacy …

British colonial secretary at the Cape of Good Hope, Col. Christopher Chapman Bird (1769-1861)

The fascinating enquiry by Margaret Cairns (1912-2009) [‘Census Return BRD 27 – 1799 Cape Town’, Capensis, no. 4 (2000), pp. 17-18] into the actual location in 1799 of the Consistory of the Dutch Reformed Groote Kerk in Adderley Street which originally housed the Bibliotheca Publica, had me glancing at a map left on one of the tables in the reading room of the Western Cape Archives and Records Service (WCARS).

Slave Lodge (left) and Groote Kerk (right) [JF Cornfield (1824)]

The map [ref. Top. Dienst, Delft K19], drawn up (1795), shows that the consistory was a separate building / dwelling situated at the back (right hand / seaside corner) of the Church bordering the Heeren Gracht (the present-day Adderley Street).

The main entrance to the Slave Lodge and the Groote Kerk faced Church Square.

It is more likely that the entrances to the residences (and offices?) of the koster (‘sexton’, ‘verger’ / ‘beadle’) and the director of the Slave Lodge faced the Heeren Gracht which explains their designation as Nos. 1 & 2 Heeren Gracht and the order in which they are listed in the census return.

Also indicated is the pakhuys of the consistory.

It was decided (1778) to enlarge the church. The new church was re-consecrated (1789). The church was again found to be too small (by 1836/7). An entirely new structure was built and re-re-consecrated (1841).

All that was retained of the original church were the northern and southern walls plus the tower.

The area taken up by consistory, originally a separate structure, appears to have been incorporated into the enlarged and mostly rebuilt church. The residence of the director of the Slave Lodge does not appear on any of the maps consulted as a separate dwelling. The residential quarters were more likely to have been an integral part of the Slave Lodge itself with an entrance facing Adderley Street.

Worth noting is the novel name for the present-day St George’s Mall: Venus Street. Was this the Lover’s Lane or the Walletje Straat of Cape Town?

The map forms part of the very interesting and little utilised copies of the Van De Graaff Collection which form part of the Prof. D. Bax Collection now housed at the WCARS [ref: ADD 1/3 – the Inventory for this collection is numbered 5/10/4 in the Reading Room of the archives while the original maps are housed at the Archives of the Topographical Service at Delft in the Netherlands].

It may interest readers to know that the Bibliotheca Publica started as a result of the legacy of Mecklenburg-born Joachim Nikolaus von Dessin (1704-1761) – once a page boy and gentleman-in-waiting to Albert Frederick, Prince of Prussia, Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt (1672-1731) – Lieutenant General in the army of the Electorate of Brandenburg-Prussia and Grand Master of the Order of Saint John whose elder brother Philip William held the town & lands of Schwedt.

Portrait: Albert Frederick, Prince of Prussia, Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt (1672-1731) – kurbrandenburgisch-preußischer Generalleutnant [painter unknown]

In his will, this cultivated man – and owner of 17 slaves at the time of his death – bequeaths his collection of 3,856 books and manuscripts to the Cape Church Council to provide the basis of a public library for the colony.

In his deceased inventory, his library is described thus:

… een biblioteecq bestaande in drie duijsend agt hondert ses en vijftig boeken en manuscripten soo gebondene als ongebondene in folio, quarto, octavo en diodecimo beneevens de daartoe gehoorende racken, groote loquetten en klijne boeklessenaars …

He also donates Rds 1000, the interest of which was to be used annually to purchase new books for the library.

Born (1704) in Rostock, Mecklenburg, the son of Christian Adolf von Dessin, captain in the Swedish army and Margaretha Elisabeth von Hünemörder, he arrives (1727) at the Cape of Good Hope as a soldier where he is appointed assistant in the office of the Council of Justice (1728-36), bookkeeper and secretary (since 1737) of the Orphan Chamber, with the rank (since 1743) of junior merchant.  He marries (10 December 1730), the Cape-born Christina Ehlers, daughter of the German baker Christian Ehlers (dies 1703) and the Ghent-born Barbe-Thérèse de Savoye (baptised 20 May 1674) and stepdaughter to Amsterdam-born Elias Kina / Quina (1670-1714), by whom he has one daughter, Barbara Theresia (16 December 1731), who dies unmarried without issue. He dies (18 September I761) in Cape Town.

The Church Council decides (7 January last 1765) “in order to give effect to Mr. Dessin’s Will, to order from home such books as they deemed useful for augmenting the Library left in trust by him to the Cape Church Council”, requesting the Council of Policy (12 February 1765) for permission to submit the contents of the Will to the Directors of the Dutch East India Company (VOC), and also to request the latter to send out the Consignment freight free.  This is followed by a resolution of the Council of Policy:

… Vervolgens geleesen weesende Seeker versoek-Schrift van kerken-raede deeser Steede, houdende, dat aen haarl: mogte werden gepermitteerd, onder S’ E.[dele] Comp:[agnie]s Papieren aan haar wel Edele Hoog Agtb:, de Heeren Majores in ‘t Vaderland, request te presenteeren, ten eijnde met S’ Comp:[agnie]s Scheepen Transport vrij, herwaards mogten werden overgebragt, Zodanige boeken, als gem: kerkenraad, ter voldoeninge aan ‘t gedisponeerde, door wijlen den oud onderCoopman en Secretaris der weescamer alhier Joachim Nicolaas von Dessin tot vermeerderinge der door denselven aan de Caabse Kerk gelegateerde Biblioteecq Zouden dienstig oordeelen, Jaarlijx uijt het Patria t’ ontbieden, Zoo is, naer overweeging van Saaken, goedgevonden, het voorz: versoek t’ accordeeren …

The books are 1st housed at the Consistory of the Groote Kerk, at No. 2 Heeren Gracht (ie Adderley Street, Cape Town) which also serves as the Bibliotheca Publica.

This invaluable collection, known as the Dessinian Library, now forms part of the South African Library in Cape Town.

Following the establishment of the South African Library (1818), Johann Heinrich Wilhelm von Manger (Detmold, County of Lippe, Germany 20 February 1767-Cape Town 2 May 1842), as minister of the Cape congregation, negotiates (1820) with the colonial government the transfer of Von Dessin’s collection. Having studied at Utrecht, he serves as minister at:

  • Graaff-Reinet (1792-1798)
  • Swellendam (1798-1802)
  • Cape Town (1802-1837)

and marries (22 September 1805) the Cape-born Maria Elisabeth van Reenen (1778-1834), daughter of Johannes Gysbertus van Reenen (1749-1827) and Elizabeth Jacoba Maynier (1756-1815), the great-granddaughter of the Cape-born freed slave Anna de Coninck / Coningh (1661-1734) who was the voordochter of Maaij Ansela van Bengale (dies 1720) – the 4th slave to be manumitted at the Cape and the 1st slave woman to be freed without being legally bound to a man.

Anna de Coninck / Coningh (1661-1734) [Cape Archives]

Von Mager and the Lutheran minister F.J.R. Kaufman together supervise (18 September 1820) the removal of the Dessinian Collection. They are also responsible for re-arranging and cataloguing the collection. Von Manger continues (after 1824) to serve on the library committee for some years.

What prompts the Cape Church Council to surrender this valuable collection – thereby allowing for one of South Africa’s finest book collections to become the substratum of the South African Library, preserved for posterity and theoretically for the benefit of all the people of South Africa?

Invading British (1806) ransack ‘Melkbosch’ – the place of my Cape-born Chinese-descended, ancestor at the Blaauw Berg …

by Mansell Upham

Just prior to the Battle of Blaauw Berg in which Britain finally conquers the Cape of Good Hope from the Dutch, the invading British ransack (6 January 1806) the  farm, lime kilns and whaling station Melkbosch at Lospers Bay [‘Laubscher’s Bay’ – present-day Melkbosstrand] – belonging to my maternal 5x great-grandfather:

de Manhafte (‘the gallant’) Christiaan Pieter BRAND (1734-1817) – Burgher Lieutenant

whose father is ½ Norwegian and ½ Dutch; and whose mother is ½ Chinese and ½ ‘Indonesian’ …

In his Memorial (petition) to the new colonial masters requesting compensation for the damages that he has suffered, he states the following:

« On the 6th of last month January [1806] when the English troops landed at Blue Mounts … a great many of them overwhelming his habitation, destroyed all his goods; they broke open his press and carried away all his raiments; crushed his precious clock, violently opened his desk, dashed in pieces four chests and carried away all his books and written papers, amongst which was a valuable Bible with copperplates; they broke open his storehouse and and his corn lift, the plough, the harrow, the readymade door and window casements, the beams, the casket and oxen wagon; they dashed to pieces two new bedsteads made of yati [teak] wood. 

They destroyed all the kitchen tackling as well as a chest of carpenter’s tools and 100 sacks of lime. 

They then burnt 800 sheaves of corn; they furiously ran to the fish house and either took away or cut to pieces all the casks of slated fish, as well as a large chain of 15 fathoms long. 

Besides yet, they carried off 2 boats and the cutter called Netherlands-Africa, which lay now here in Table Bay … »

[RequestenChristiaan Pieter Brand (8 April 1806)]
Remnant outbuilding of the farm Melkbosch (c. 1900)

De Manhafte (‘the gallant’) Christiaan Pieter Brand (1734-1817), Burgher Lieutenant – whose father is ½ Norwegian and ½ Dutch and whose mother is ½ Chinese and ½ ‘Indonesian’ is baptized at the Groote Kerk, Cape Town Cape (21 June 1734) and farms, burns lime and keeps a whaling station at Melbosch & Lospers Bay [Melkbosstrand]

13 October 1781:                signs joint petition with several inland burghers concerning unfair taxes being levied while having to do extra military service and not being able to be on their farms to earn their and their families’ keep [vide Resolution of the Council of Policy (30 October 1781)]

14 July 1786:                         joint will (both he & wife sign)

6 November 1786:              joint will (both he & wife sign)

1785:                                     occupies Melkbosch aan de mond van de Kleyne Zoutrivier at

Losper’s Bay at the Blaauw Berg in Cape District as whaler &

lime burner

1787:                                     memorial (requesting additional land as promised)

14 April 1788:                      memorial

Brand (Christiaan Pieter) Burgher Lieutenant; submits that during the war he permitted a wagon road to be made over his land for the use of the Company, over which to convey the sods out of the valleys of Memorialist towards Fort Knokke (De Knokke wacht), as far as the garden of the gallant Joh. Hendrik Munnik, for the making of batteries. For that the former, Governor J. v. Plettenberg, promised him a bit of ground, but as Memorialist has hitherto not received any indemnity, in accordance with the promise made him by Messrs. Schull & the late Cloete, in the name of the Governor, he now takes the liberty to approach the Council with the humble request that there may be added to his ground such land as has with the approval of the Governor, already been surveyed by the surveyor Jan Willem Wemich; or that you may favour him with such other arrangement as you may deem best, (Signature)(No. 82; date, 14 April 1788) [See Resolution (8 July 1788)]

1793:                                     memorial requesting grant of land adjoining his farm Melkbosch

1800:                                     listed at Melkbosch with wife Geesina [sic] Maria Verwey & sons (Johannes, Gysbert, Christiaan Pieter, Dirk Johannes & Daniel Tobias)

16 October 1805:                granted 10 morgen extension of farm Melkbosch

6 January 1806:                  invading British troops occupy Melkbosch

Battle of Blaauw Berg (8-18 January 1806)

8 April 1806:                        petitions for compensation following ransacking of farm by invading British forces preceding the Capitulation;

24 November 1806:            Melkbosch enlarged again by grant of 25 morgen

23 May 1809:                      petitions for grant of land on quitrent adjoining his farm Melkbosch

1810:                                     listed in Opgaaf with wife, 5 sons & 1 daughter

1817:                                     dies Cape Melkbosch passes into the hands of the Wed. Daniel Brink

Christiaan Pieter Brand (1734-1817) is husband to:

Gesina Maria Verwey (1739-Melkbosch 14 January 1812), daughter of Gysbert Verwey & Maria van Eck – baptized Groote Kerk, Cape Town (2 October 1739); dies Melkbosch, Cape District (14 January 1812)

son of :

the cooper Johannes (Jan) Brand (1707-1741) & Christina de Veij (born 1701)

stepson of:

Peter Andreas Sachs(e) / Sax(e) (from Güsten), widower of Jannetje Floris: Slabber (from Zeeland) (son of Joachim Saxe (from Egeln near Magdeburg) & Susanna Holswig (from Haszleben,Thuringia)

Christiania [present-day Oslo], Norway

paternal grandson of:

Robbert Robbertsz; Brand (from Christiania [Oslo], Norway & Cornelia Floris: Slabber/t (from Meliskerke, Zeeland)

maternal grandson of:

Exiled (later pardoned) bandiet Lim Inko baptized Abraham de Veij by his wife, the freed Company slave Maria Jacobs: van Batavia

Peranakan / Baba-Nyonya / Kiau-Seng (ethnic Chinese found in Malay & Indonesian archipelagoes) couple

step-grandson of:

Anna Willemse, wid/o Harmen Franke / Franken (from Leiden), daughter of Gerrit Willemse (from Leeuwarden, Friesland) & Maria Cornelisse and granddaughter of Catharina van Malabar) who marries (3rdly) 3 May 1739 Joachim Ernst Wepener (from Anklam in Swedish Pomerania) (who fathers illegitimate children by Regina van de Caap)

Remnant outbuilding of the farm Melkbosch (c. 1900)

Sources

Cape Archives: 

CJ 2678, no. 21 (Joint will: den burgher Lieutenant Mons:r Christiaan Pieter Brand & Gesina Maria Verweij, 14 July 1785

CJ 2678, no. 55 (Joint will: den burgher Lieutenant de Manhafte Christiaan Pieter Brand & Juffr: Gesina Maria Verwey, 6 November 1786)

AG 8037 (sketch of farm Melkbosch by J.R. Thomas)

J 49 (Opgaaf, 1819)

MOOC 6/2, p. 184 Gezina Maria Verweij vrouw van Christiaan Pieter Brand]

·      Marthinus Brand, ‘ Christiaan Pieter Brand van Melkbos – wie se seun was hy?’, Familia

·      J.A. Heese & R.T.J. Lombard, South African Genealogies (HSRC, Pretoria 1989), vol. I, p. 402

·      D.W. Krynauw & G.S.J. Moeller, Blouberg:  Ons beroemste strand (Human & Rousseau, Cape Town 1994), pp. 27, 30 & 41-42

·      H.C.V. Leibbrandt, Precis of the Archives of the Cape of Good HopeRequesten (SA Library, Cape Town 1989), vol. I, pp. 119-120, 178 (no. 82, 14 April 1788) & vol. IV, pp. 1400-1401, (Supplement 1729-1795 A-Z), p. 1483

·      Pierre Morgenrood, ‘The Brands of “De Melkbosch”‘, Familia, vol. 39, no. 3 (2002), pp. 138-149

·      Eric Rosenthal, Cape Directory 1800 (C. Struik, Cape Town 1969), pp. 10-11 & 218-219

·      M.G. Upham, ‘Chronology of the life of Christiaan Pieter Brand Sr. – 1st owner of the farm Melkbosch’, Capensis, no. 1 (1998)

·      C.C. de Villiers & C. Pama, Genealogies of South African Families (A.A. Balkema, Cape Town 1966), vol. I, pp. 93-94

At Earth's Extremest End …

At Earth’s Extremest End …

by Mansell George Upham

On 2 January1666), the first foundation-stone is laid by the Cape of Good Hope’s 2nd VOC commander, the Dresden-born Zacharias Wagenaer (1614-1668) nicknamed Der Donnerman during his double posting (1 November 1656-27 October 1657 & 22 October 1658-4 November 1659) on Deshima [Dejima, then an artificial island in the Bay of Nagasaki, Japan], at one of the five bastions of the new Fort, the Casteel de Goede Hoop:

  • Leerdam
  • Buren
  • Katzenellenbogen
  • Nassau
  • Oranje

Other senior officials:

  • the soon-to-depart (April 1666) Abraham Gabbema from The Hague [‘s Gravenhage, Zuid-Holland] – bookkeeper, fiscal (‘prosecuting officer’) and later secretary of the Council of Policy and secunde (2nd-in-command) as well as 3rd patron (‘owner’) of my very own double paternal ancestor, the slave Maai Ansela van Bengale (dies 1720) who is later freed (13 April 1666) together with her 4 slave-born voorkinderen (‘pre-wedlock’ children) the 4th slave to be manumitted at the Cape and the 1st slave woman to be freed without being legally bound to a man;
  • the soon-to-be-suspended (5 September 1667) secretary of the Council of Policy Hendrik Lacus from Wesel, in the Duchy of Cleves [now incorporated into the land of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany];
  • secretary of the Council of Policy and later fiscal Cornelis de Cretzer from The Hague – the man who arrests (10 February 1669) another ancestor (maternal and paternal!) of mine, Eva Meerhoff, born Krotoa of the Goringhaicona (c. 1643-1674) – who later in a stabbing incident, flees from his victim, stowing away in the Return Fleet, but is captured at sea and sold into slavery;
  • the soon-to-die (Tuesday 12 January 1666) Reformed minister Rev. Joan van Arckel (from Den Briel [Brielle, Zuid-Holland]).                    

– each laying a stone at one of the other four bastions …

At the unveiling (2 January 1666), the following poem, now buried and no longer visible, is carved into the foundation stone of the Casteel de Goede Hoop

«Thus more and more the kingdoms are extended;

Thus more and more are black and yellow spread,

This from the ground a wall of stone is raised,

On which the thundering brass can no impression make.

For Hottentots were always earthen,

But now we come with stone to boast before all men,

And terrify not only Europeans, but also

Asians, Americans and savage Africans.

Thus Holy Christendom is glorified;

Establishing its seats amidst the savage heathens.

We praise the Great Director, and say with one another:

“Augustus’s dominion, nor Conquering Alexander,

Nor Caesar’s mighty genius, has ever had the glory

To lay a corner stone at Earth’s Extremest End!” »

Den eersten steen van ‘t nieuwe Casteel Goede Hope heeft WAGENAER gelegt met hoop van goede Hope.

AMPLIATIE.

Soo werden voort en voort de rijcken uitgespreyt

Soo werden al de swart’, en geluwen gepreyt

Soo doet men uijtter aerd, een steene wal oprechten

daer ‘t donderend metael, seer weynigh can ophechten

Voor Hottentoos waren ‘t eerteijts aerde wallen

nu comt men hier met steen voor anderen oock brallen

dus maekt men dan een schricq, soowel d’Europiaen

als voor den Aes: Amer: en wilde Africaen

dus wordt beroemt gemaeckt, ‘t geheijlich christendom

die setels stellen in het woeste heijdendom

wij loven ‘t groot bestier, en zeggen met malkander

Augustus heerschappij, noch winnet Alexander,

noch Caesar’s groot beleijt, zyn noijt daermee gewaerd

met leggen van een steen, op ‘t eijnde van de Aerd.

[Source: VOC Journal for the Cape of Good Hope (2 January 1666)] – the English translation is by Rev. Hendrik Carel Vos Leibbrandt (31 December 1837- 1 January 1911)]

Rev. Hendrik Carel Vos Leibbrandt (31 December 1837- 1 January 1911)

Cinque pas … Five paces ahead … Markeer die pas … Marking time …

fencing print from Domenco Angelo’s instruction book ( 1763 )

Cinque pas … Five paces ahead … Markeer die pas … Marking time …

By Mansell Upham

In at least two instances, the tantalizing sobriquet Cinque Pas makes an appearance in early Cape of Good Hope colonial records:

Baron Hendrik Adriaan van R(h)eede tot Drake(n)stein (Amsterdam 13 April 1636 – at sea 15 December 1691)

1. When the soldier Steven Sinke-Pas makes his début as biological father at the baptism (8 July 1685) of the half-Malagasy vrije dochter Nonje Francina (1681-1713) … 4-year-old protégée to visiting VOC Commissioner, Baron van Rheede tot Drake(n)stein, as well as god-daughter and future housekeeper to Commander (late Governor) Simon van der Stel;

Simon van der Stel (14 October 1639-24 June 1712) – last VOC commander & 2nd VOC governor of Dutch colony of Cape of Good Hope

2. When the Hottentot Cinquepas / Sincepas features (27 October 1687) in the trial papers of that cause célèbre in which Johannes (Jantje) van As (1665-1688), the halfslag slave-born but freed step-son of the free-burgher Jagt [Arnoldus Willemsz: Basson (from) Wesel], is convicted and executed for stock theft and the murder of a slave boy.

And then there is Peter Kolbe’s mention of his Cape indigene Syncopas (aka Knapkoek meaning either ‘shortbread’ / ‘hard gingerbread’ originating in Maaseik in Limburg and the Maas Valley or ‘half gold guilder coin’) – possibly the same ‘detribalised’ man featuring in the afore-mentioned Van As trial (?) –  whom he engages as language teacher, being the source of much of what he later relates about the region’s aboriginal peoples.

Peter Kolbe / Kolb / Kolben / Colbe (1675–1726) – astronomer & author of Caput Bonae Spei Hodiernum (Nuremberg 1719)

An ironic name, too, when one associates it willy-nilly with the Latin (2nd person singular) syncopas (meaning ’thou swoonst’) or even the modern musical, as well as grammatical, sense of syncopation

Shakespeare, in his Much Ado About Nothing, makes a pun with ‘cinq pas’ // ‘sink apace’, which makes one wonder all the more about the wider use of this French term, its broader cultural significance, as well as its origins:

« Wooing, wedding, and repenting is as a Scotch jig, a measure, and a cinque-pace: the first suit is hot and hasty, like a Scotch jig, and full as fantastical; the wedding, mannerly-modest, as a measure, full of state and ancientry; and then comes Repentance, and with his bad legs, falls into the cinque-pace faster and faster, till he sink into his grave. »

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English poet & dramatist engraved by Samuel Cousins (c. 1800) after a painting attributed to Joseph Taylor (Photo: Universal History Archive / Getty Images)

Cinq Pas (literally ‘5 steps’ / ‘paces’ or 5 ‘figures’) as featured in extant Cape archival records, to all intents and purposes, is clearly a nick-name in keeping with the already well-entrenched and popular inter-related and transposed fencing and dancing terms – these 5 steps denoting, in the 16th and 17th centuries, a series of 5 dance figures (later also steps) probably deriving from the teaching of the fencing masters.

Fencing School, University of Leiden (1610)

The cinque-pace or cinq-pas derives from fencing positions.

The 5 steps consist of:
a. droite, a straight move forward or back
b. ouvert, opening sideways
c. ronde, sweeping the foot on the floor
d. glissé, sliding the foot as in a glissade
e. tournée, turning.

The ancient martial art of fencing comes into its own once the rapier’s popularity peaks in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The Dardi School of the 1530s, as exemplified by Achille Marozzo, still taught the 2-handed spadone, but preferred the single–handed sword.

The success of Italian masters such as Marozzo and Fabris outside of Italy shaped a new European mainstream of fencing.

One master, Girolamo Cavalcabo of Bologna, was employed by the French Court to tutor the future Louis XIII in fencing, and his influence may be seen in later French treatises, such as that by François Dancie (1623).

The Ecole Française d’Escrime (founded 1567) under Charles IX produced masters such as Henry de Sainct-Didier who introduced the French fencing terminology that remains in use today.

The notions of ‘5 steps’ and ‘5 figures’ have largely been confused, so much so that today the 5 steps are invariably associated with the 5 classic positions.

By extension, the 5 steps relate to the galliard / gaillarde or romanesca (because of the 5 supports distributed on 2 measures 6/8) and with all the dances which derived from or emulated it – either by the rhythmic measure, or by the etymology – however the Greek dance pentozali (in Greek πεντοζαλη) meaning ‘5 steps’, perhaps has nothing to do with neither the 5 figures described above, nor with the gaillarde, except the etymology.

One special step used during a galliard is lavolta, a step which involves an intimate, close hold between a couple, with the woman being lifted into the air and the couple turning 270 degrees, within one 6-beat measure.

Lavolta was considered by some dancing masters as an inappropriate dance.

Another special step used during a galliard is the tassel kick (Salti del Fiocco).

These steps are found in Negri’s manual and involve a galliard step usually (though not always) ending with a spin.

The easier steps involve single spins of 180 or 360 degrees; later, more difficult steps involve multiple sequential spins and spins of up to at least 540 degrees.

During the spin, the dancer kicks out to touch a tassel suspended between knee and waist height.

Musical compositions in the galliard form appear to have been written and performed after the dance fell out of popular use.

In musical compositions, the galliard often filled the role of an after dance written in 6, which followed and mimicked another piece (sometimes a pavane) written in 4.

The distinctive 6 beats to the phrase can still be heard today in songs such as God Save the Queen.

Nevertheless, the 5 steps of fencing are probably the oldest known forms of the 5 positions of the dance.

The positions of the feet in modern ballet is a fundamental part of classical ballet technique that defines standard placements of feet on the floor.

There are 5 basic positions in modern-day classical ballet, known as the 1st through 5th positions.

In 1725, dancing master Pierre Rameau credited the codification of these 5 positions to choreographer Pierre Beauchamp.

Two additional positions, known as the 6th and 7th positions, are codified by Serge Lifar in the 1930s while serving as Ballet Master at the Paris Opéra Ballet, though their use is limited to Lifar’s choreographies.

The 6th and 7th positions were not Lifar’s inventions, but revivals of positions that already existed in the 18th century, when there were 10 positions of the feet in classical ballet.

The 7 basic positions

The 1st basic position requires the feet to be flat on the floor and turned out (pointing in opposite directions as a result of rotating the legs at the hips).

1st position
Heels together, and toes going outwards.

2nd position
The feet point in opposite directions, with heels spaced approximately twelve inches apart.

3rd position
One foot is placed in front of the other so that the heel of the front foot is near the arch.

4th position

There are 2 types of fourth position: open and closed. In both cases, one foot is placed approximately 12 inches in front of the other. In open 4th position the heels are aligned, while in closed 4th position the heel of the front foot is aligned with the toe of the back foot.

5th position should form 2 parallel lines with your feet. The heel of the front foot should be in contact with the big toe of the other, and the heel of the back foot should be in contact with the last toe of the front foot.

Lifar’s additional 6th and 7th positions

6th position
Parallel feet, as in pas couru sur les pointes en avant or en arrière.

7th position
Similar to 4th position, but performed en pointe with heels in centre with each other. There are two 7th positions, determined by whether the left or right foot is placed in front.

So, from allongé to arrondi, with a little arabesque to boot, we can go full circle with a grand jeté illustrating thereby the richness of our retrievable heritage and folklore to arriving, one step closer, at a deeper understanding of our multifarious and magnificent inextricably-linked indigenous, aboriginal, African, as well as colonial and Eurasian – for better or for worse – past …

“Our names are the light that glows on the sea waves at night and then dies without leaving its signature …”
Rabindranath Tagore, Stray Birds (1916)

Identifying the 15 Cape free-burghers who sign a petition (1707) warning against the Blood of Ham …

Identifying the 15 Cape free-burghers who sign a petition (1707) warning against the Blood of Ham …

By Mansell George Upham

Adam Tas (from Amsterdam) – co-signing (1707) in a petition with 14 other free-burghers – accuses Cape governor Willem Adriaan van der Stel and the Directors of the VOC (Heeren XVII) of advancing the interests of the aboriginal Khoe / San people who would:

“attack all Christians, good or bad without distinction, and swamp them” (… alle Christenen, soo goede als kwade, sonder onderscheijd op’t lyf vallen, en ons verdelgen …)

Adding, further:

“… Not much more can be expected from our slaves; we can also not expect much better & even less from the Kaffirs, Mulattos, Mestiços, Castiços, and all that black brood living among us, who have been bred from marriages and other forms of mingling with European and African Christians.

To our amazement they have so grown in power, numbers and arrogance, and have been allowed to handle arms and participate with Christians in … military exercises, that they now tell us that they could and would trample on us …

For there is no trusting the blood of Ham, especially as the black people are constantly being favoured & pushed forward …”

Van ons slaven souden wij almede nie veel beters verwagten hebben, en vrij minder van de Caffers, Moulattos, Mestiços, Castiços en al dat swart gebroeijdsel onder ons wonende, en met Europeeanse en Africaanse Christenen door huwelijken en ander vermengingen vermaagdschapt, dewelke in vermoogen, getal en hoogmoet t’ onder uijterste verwonderingen aangegroeijd, en neffens de Christen en tot allerhande wapenhandeling en krijgsoeffening tougelten, geven ons met duisterlijk daar haar trotse bejegeningen te kennen, datse ons, haar slaag waarnemende, wel den voet op de nek, souden konnen en willen setten, want dat Chams bloed is niet te betrouwen

[Signed]

  • Adam Tas from Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
  • Jacob van der Heiden from Haarlem, Noord-Holland
  • Jacobus Louw [van de Caep]
  • Jacobus van Brakel [van de Caep]
  • Cornelis Nijkerck [Cornelis Gerritsz: Van Niekerk ] from Nijkerk, Gelderland
  • Guilliam Dutoijt [Guillaume du Toit] from Lille / Rijsel, Flandre – now  Haut-de-France, Nord, France
  • Hercules Des Prez [Du Preez] from Courtrai, Flandre, Spanish Netherlands – now Kortrijk, West Flanders, Belgium
  • J[.an] E.[lbertsz:] [van de Caep]
  • Claes Elbertsz: [van de Caep]
  • François du Toit from Lille / Rijsel, Flandre – now Haut-de-France, Nord, France
  • Willem van Zijl [Willem Willemsz: van Zyl] from Delft
  • Willem Menssinck [Mensing / Mensingh / Mensinck / Mensinge / Mensink / Mentzink / Meintink ] from Deventer, Overijssel, Netherlands
  • Jacobus de Savoije Jacques de Savoye] from Ath, Hainault / Hainaut / Hanegouwe, Spanish Netherlands [Belgium]
  • Pieter Meyer [Pierre Meyer] from Château-Queyras [Dauphiné], France
  • Abraham Diemer [van de Caep]